San Jose Police Chief’s Message:
Community Partnerships, Crime Reduction and Doing More With Less
District 8 recently held a Community Forum focused on Public Safety. The April 10th meeting, held at Carolyn Clark Elementary School, was hosted by Councilmember Rose Herrera, who introduced San Jose’s Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel. Also present were Foothill Division Lieutenant Michael Sullivan and Crime Prevention Specialist Sandra Avila. The Foothill Division covers about 75 square miles including the East Foothills, and extends from Milpitas to Morgan Hill.
“R-CITI” (pronounced, "Our City")
Chief Esquivel’s team has come up with a simple acronym, “R-CITI,” to help articulate the department’s priorities and core values. “R” stands for Respect, officers showing empathy and professionalism in every interaction with the community. “C” is Crime Reduction. “I” represents Investment in their people, critical to increase morale and ensure retention. “T” is Transparency, including accountability and improved communications. The final “I” stands for Innovation, through technology and partnerships.
Reducing gang violence continues to be a large focus and progress is being made; gang activity has gone done 69% since last year. The police do not have the resources to quickly respond to “cold” burglaries, but they will respond. Calls have increased 75% relating to suspicious activities in neighborhoods. This is good, as all such data is retained, and multiple calls may point to a pattern or provide important information on a hot spot. They have bike officers and an unmarked car that can be sent out to areas highlighted in multiple complaints. The Chief is getting funding to bring back their truancy abatement program, which he believes is key to reducing daytime burglaries.
More officers are coming. The police academy just graduated 43 new officers. The next academy will provide another 50. Residents can contact the Crime Prevention Unit and organize a Neighborhood Watch program. Contact them at 408-277-4133 or through the department’s www.sjpd.org site. This program strengthens police/community ties and improves safety in neighborhoods.
Doing More With Less
They are looking at social media and other technology solutions to engage the community, automate services and facilitate communications. Apps like the iPhone and Android based “San Jose Clean” application for reporting graffiti have shown huge positive results. A TipSubmit app is now available, and others are coming. They are partnering with the neighborhood-oriented website, Nextdoor.com for more real-time community dialogue. Another partnership is the working relationship they have with the Mayor’s Gang Task Force, which provides gang intervention support at most high schools in San Jose.
Councilmember Herrera said that she felt it was important to have the community meet our new Chief and one of the Lieutenants directly in charge of the Evergreen area so that residents could hear about the police department’s priorities, their plans to leverage technology and their explicit focus on customer service. She appreciates the community coming together on tough issues like crime, saying “We’re on a good track, seeing positive results. It is good news to see the gang activity down and to hear about all the other positive efforts underway.” She encourages community members to sign up for Nextdoor.com as well as have their neighborhood participate in the August 6th “National Night Out”.