SAN JOSE -- A man was hospitalized after likely being stabbed by a hostile group he encountered on a walking trail downtown early Monday, but that was just the start for police.

The next 24 hours in the city would see a suspected baseball bat melee -- also downtown -- an armed robbery, an armed home-invasion robbery and a car stop that yielded two suspected felons carrying assault-rifle ammunition and meth and led to the discovery of a storage locker filled with allegedly stolen property.

It was categorized as a "busy" span for the San Jose Police Department, said police spokesman Officer Albert Morales. It also comes amid mid-year figures that show an approximately 4 percent increase in violent crime compared with the first six months of 2013.

While homicides are down from 24 to 19 through the end of June, that was offset by upticks in robberies -- up 7 percent -- rapes, and aggravated assaults.

"That is obviously a cause for concern," Morales said.

Property crimes are down 9 percent, but that is tempered by the fact that the city saw a 30-percent spike two years ago; so while an improvement, it could just as easily be viewed as a leveling off from the meteoric rise in 2012.

The Monday trail attack, reported just after midnight, occurred on the Guadalupe River Park Trail between Woz Way and Almaden Boulevard when a man in his 50s and a female relative in her 20s were walking and encountered a group of men and women. Police say words were exchanged and the group attacked the man and then the woman when she intervened.

The woman sought help from nearby security guards. The man was taken to the hospital for lacerations that were characterized as life-threatening, but Morales said the victim has since stabilized. No weapon was found after the group scattered, but Morales said "some sort of sharp instrument" was suspected.

Then at 5:15 a.m., a man walking near First and Santa Clara streets downtown was hit in the head with a weapon resembling a baseball bat by another man who witnesses said went on to hit buildings and windows. A few hours after that, in North San Jose, an armed suspect kicked in the front door of a home on Fanwood Court and threatened residents with a handgun before taking off with property. Neither suspect has been caught.

Later that day, police responded to the car stop involving a felon and an armed robbery of a business at Monterey Road and Lewis roads, along with a slew of other incidents.

Responding to these calls while staffing adequate patrols continues to be a challenge for the undermanned police department, which this summer instituted an all-hands-on-deck deployment model that entails pulling in special-operations units -- like SWAT and the motorcycle corps -- to work overtime patrol shifts. Detectives were rounded into the part-time patrol duty last year.

Additionally, patrol officers were told to prepare for mandatory overtime, typically reserved for special events or major incidents, just to meet baseline staffing levels.

Just over 1,000 officers are on the force, down from over 1,400 six years ago, before a slew of early retirements and resignations spurred in part by a political battle over pay and pension benefits. And slightly less than 900 officers are available for full duty, more than half dedicated to patrol, the backbone of police service.

The amount of overtime and reallocated specialized units has raised concerns about officer fatigue, but Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia has said it was necessary to meet baseline safety needs for both the public and police rank and file.

"We can't put these issues only on the backs of our patrol" officers, Garcia said in an interview Monday.

The extra summer deployment will be reassessed at the end of August. That was also the case last year when the department made the unprecedented move of assigning detectives to regularly work patrol, and they continue to do so.

Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.