Since the turn of the century, San Jose, California has been recognized as America's safest big city....claiming the top spot from 2001 through 2006. This "safe city" list is based on populations of 500,000 or more, and on crime rates per 1000 people.
Unfortunately, after slipping to 3rd place in 2007, San Jose could only manage a 4th place ranking this past year of 2008, according to FBI crime statistics reports. Never-the-less, city officials are happy about recent crime drops in assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. "We're proud we held steady, and we're still the safest city in California," said Assistant Police Chief Dan Katz. San Jose trailed Honolulu, El Paso,Texas and New York City.
Mayor Chuck Reed stated that maintaining San Jose's crime ranking is a notable achievement, given the poor economy and state funding raids on local governments. "I'm proud that we saw a steady drop in most major crime categories," the Mayor said. Drops in most crimes were attributed to increased focuses on gang-prevention efforts, auto thefts and burglaries. Gang-related crimes were among seven of 10 types that dropped according to the FBI's annual report.
San Jose also reported smaller drops in property crime, aggravated assault, violent crime and homicide. The only increases were mild ones in robbery(5.2 percent), larceny-theft(3.1 percent) and rape)from 217 cases to 220). Despite that awful gang-related shooting in East San Jose on Halloween night which left a 12-year old boy critically wounded, overall gang violence is down 14.5 percent so far this year compared with 2008.
If similar progress is realized in most other crime categories, perhaps San Jose will once again claim the top spot....as our nation's SAFEST big city.