San Jose’s four homicides in 50 hours last weekend is a statistical blip in a big city with one of the lowest slaying rates in the country, the city’s incoming mayor and police chief agree, the San Jose Mercury News reports. They say the deadly weekend illustrates the need to hire more cops. The four unrelated killings — raising San Jose’s homicide tally to 26 this year — came soon after Police Chief Rob Davis said his department needs to hire close to 600 more officers and support staff over the next five years — including a 35 percent increase in sworn officers. Less than a month before he takes office, Mayor-elect Chuck Reed backed the chief’s request for more police.
San Jose has 1,348 sworn officers, with about 1.4 officers per 1,000 residents — one of the lowest rates in the state. Oakland, with less than half of San Jose’s population. That city had 94 homicides in 2005; so far this year it has 142, one of its highest totals since the bloody crack violence of the early 1990s. Jack Riley, a policing expert from RAND said, “With both declines and increases, people want to point to a pet cause or a pet factor that they think explains it,” Riley said. “But there is no one factor that explains it.”