It's official: Violent crime is on the rise in much of the Bay Area.
FBI crime statistics released last week confirm what has been clear from news reports for a while now.
The FBI's report compared stats in cities of 100,000 or more residents and makes it abundantly clear that the rise was not confined to any one micro region as the largest spikes occurred in Antioch, Santa Clara and Oakland.
It is also true that this was a regression from previous years in which the FBI numbers had shown that such crime had dropped.
While the spike is disconcerting, it is not cause for panic. A year's worth of statistics is not a valid measurement of a trend. And it is especially important to note that the Bay Area's jump is consistent with a national rise in violent crime, which has not happened since 2006.
And while that alone shouldn't lead us to any absolute conclusions, it is an important part of the landscape that cannot be dismissed.
The report presented some moderating news by showing that while the crime spikes were widespread, they were not universal. Some cities -- namely Concord, Fremont, Santa Rosa and Vallejo -- did not see overall escalation in the numbers for murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
One likely contributing factor to the rise is the budget ax, as cities struggle to live within the realities of recessionary times. Both Oakland and San Jose have made dramatic cuts to their police forces and the stats reveal violent crime has spiked 19.7 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.
In May, this paper found that Oakland is leading the nation in per capita robberies. And the stats show that San Jose is on pace to meet last year's homicide total, which was the highest in two decades.
While reductions in police service probably contributed to the problem, other key components may be cuts to social services and schools. Social safety net programs, especially those designed to prevent domestic violence and to treat drug and alcohol abuse, as well as ancillary school activities often are effective, albeit indirect, crime-fighting agents in many communities.
Concord Police Chief Gary Swanger credits his city's 6.5 percent drop in violent crime to aggressive pursuit of drug dealers and gang members, clearing out homeless encampments and staffing police headquarters with outside domestic violence counselors.
That tells us that not only is there a need to increase the number of police on the street, which there is, but also to honestly examine how the resources that do remain are being deployed.