It started Friday night: a three-day operation aimed at stopping the outbreak of gang violence. The spike in murders couldn't have come at a worse time. The number of officers in the force is at the lowest in years, but the department was able to mobilize officers from numerous units and authorize overtime for patrol cops for the sweeps.
Police officials say the effort paid off. Officers made 91 probation and parole searches. They arrested 26 gang members and confiscated two guns and two knives. "We are very confident that our activities this weekend resulted in no homicides," Officer Jose Garcia told ABC7 News.
That's no homicides, when there were eight killings during an 11-day stretch this month, raising the total to 33, five more murders than this time last year. Gang members were targeted because police say almost 40 percent of the killings this year are gang-related. Police say this is exactly what they were doing when the department was at full force: being pro-active, putting constant pressure on gangs, a deterrent they say worked.
The operation which was nicknamed "Gangs All the Time" pleased San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. "The gang members know that they're likely going to be stopped and if they're carrying a gun, they're going to be arrested. And that gets gangs off the street," he said.
More reinforcements will be coming next year. The police department is hiring 64 new recruits who will be finished with their training at the end of next summer.