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Violent Week Continues In San Jose; Police Blame Staffing Cuts

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The San Jose Police Officers' Association blamed staffing cuts instituted by the mayor and city council for the recent surge in gang violence.

Seven people were killed in nine days, the latest coming Tuesday night, when a man was stabbed to death at a Safeway store in East San Jose. It marked the 31st homicide of the year in the city.

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

Police Officers Association President Jim Unland had warned city leaders that gang violence would increase following the merger of the Violent Crimes Enforcement Team (VCET) and the Metro Unit because of staffing cuts.

"We said look, if you have the Metro Unit take over the VCET job of all gangs all the time, first off, they don't have all the same training and background experience that the VCET officers did," said Unland. "So there's going to be a learning curve for that Metro Unit."

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said it has just been the case of making tough decisions amid growing budgetary constraints.

"The chief has to make difficult decisions of how to deploy officers that we have," he said. "Unfortunately, the department is a lot smaller than it was 10 years ago because of skyrocketing costs."

San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore said he's just trying to do the best with his depleted manpower.

"We don't have the resources and therefore, there is an opportunity for this violence to occur," Moore said.

More officers were being assigned to patrol. Moore said that a suggestion by Assemblywoman Nora Campos that the California Highway Patrol be brought in to help is premature.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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