San Jose residents 32-year-old Robert Lopez, 21-year-old Joseph Oberes, 34-year-old Jorge Nieto, 55-year-old Mansoor Sarki, 37-year-old Marco Vasquez, 18-year-old Vanessa Juarez, 47-year-old Daniel Ramirez, 27-year-old Raul Rodriguez, 46-year-old Brent Adler, 73-year-old Pedro Beltran, 37-year-old Perez Miguel and 49-year-old Gerardo Reyes, were all arrested this week on battery charges against another individual or co-habitant/spouse. Domestic abuse cases are still leading the way over battery and assault cases. According to the report by the San Jose Police Department, “Additionally, we know from experience that gang members are often responsible for many different crimes in our community, including robberies, burglaries, vandalism, auto theft and various other quality of life crimes. By aggressively enforcing gang crime laws, we will reduce these other crimes as well.”
Despite the lessening trend of violent crime in the City of San Jose, the restriction of access to police services for misdemeanor crimes may be the reason for the shortfall. The RCITI Report released this week by the San Jose Police Department’s top chief, Larry Esquivel, does little to protect the victim from misdemeanor(s) and Health and Safety violations usually associated with petty crimes. The San Jose Police department ignores witness accounts in cases such as these unless the police are called to the scene and a report is filed.
The Bill Wilson Center for at-risk teens and young adults has had a considerable number of assaults occurring every year. However, the greater concern is how the facility handles misdemeanor battery and assault cases.
Staff members at the center were seemingly able to end a fight between individuals staying there. However, despite that a crime was being committed, it was instantly ignored as onlookers started to gather. Feeling even less empowered, the victim stood by as staff and administrative figures were present without compassion or concern. The tragedy of neglect and physical abuse brought on by the failure to intervene, detain and arrest the individuals responsible for such attacks is not is apparent to all as it should be. But as one individual who is leaving the center through natural attrition due to his age put it, “This kind of stuff happens here all the time.” He turned and shrugged his shoulders as if it wasn’t his problem after following the same stance as the staff members.
In talking with an investigation officer for the District Attorney’s office, the matter was considered inadmissible since a police report was not filed. A staff member who witnessed the gang related attack said, “Maybe a police report should have been be filed.” Recent reports have revealed a downward trend in violence this year in San Jose. However, in situations where an assault has occurred, the issue remains of whether a victim has reported an attack to the proper authorities and/or have actions been taken to help curb the possibility of retaliation or continued abuse by offenders.
The true impact of battery and assault cases ranging from troubled teens to gang related violence in the community may not be known due to limited resources and failure of victims to report crimes committed by known gang members due to intimidation and or dissuasion by others to report the crime. Trying to report the crime after it has been committed finds little regard to persons stationed to take reports at the police department. If a police report was not filed, there is little or nothing a by-stander or witness can do to try and bring actions against the offenders. Failure to report a crime may occur in the instance that physical abuse is sometimes treated as nothing more than an emotional conflict, despite its impact on the victim.
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