Bay Area takes part in National Night Out

August 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
National Night Out is designed to bring communities together, but with budget cuts and an increase in crime in some neighborhoods, organizers say this year was more important than ever. Every one of San Jose's 10 districts held National Night Out events. It's a chance to rebuild ties between the community and police.

It's National Night Out all over the country. It's a time when communities come together, to eat, meet, and strengthen their neighborhoods. In San Jose, it's more important than ever.

"It's huge. Especially now a days the reason is because we don't have the police," said Joe Nieto from the Plata Arroyo Neighborhood Association.

San Jose's Police Department is short staffed. There are just over 1,000 officers to protect a city of nearly one million. The department prioritizes violent crimes. Burglaries and property crimes as seen in these surveillance videos are not.

"When you see something wrong in your neighborhood we want you to report it. The refrain we get is 'Look, you're not going to come anyway. Why should we call?' The answer is we're always going to take the info. May not be helpful tonight or tomorrow, but will be helpful next week in solving a crime in your neighborhood," said San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore.

The San Jose Police Department reports 2,476 burglaries in the first six months of this year. It's a 34 percent jump from the first half of last year. Some blame offenders released into the community due to jail overcrowding, while others blame police staffing cuts. Either way residents are worried.

"It does concern all of us as neighbors and as homeowners," said Patrick Hall from the Hamann Park Neighborhood Association.

"We try to compensate by bringing our neighbors together and just have them protect each other," said Vince Navarra from the Hamann Park Neighborhood Association.

Last year more than 100 neighborhoods in San Jose participated in National Night Out. This year, the police department hopes, even more are taking part.


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