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October sees 20th straight month of drop in crime rate despite jump in gang violence

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POSTED January 3, 2011 3:39 a.m.

A surge in year-end felony-level property crimes - a regular holiday occurrence - won’t likely break Manteca’s string of 20 months of double-digit drops in the crime rate.

The year-to-year comparison report for the month of October showed only three of the 12 felonies that the FBI uses to determine the relative safety of communities rose between October of 2009 and October of 2010.

The increases included a 50 percent jump in aggravated assault - essentially gang violence - that went from four incidents to six. The first 10 months of this year saw a 110.28 percent increase with 82 incidents compared to 39 in the same time period for 2009. That included one murder. Manteca’s murder rate is down 50 percent.

Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker has said aggravated assaults are particularly troublesome even if they are gang-related due to concerns that innocent people could get hit as happened this past summer.

Bricker also noted gang violence comes in waves. While additional officers would help, Bricker said the department has reshuffled resources after manpower cutbacks to make sure the same number of officers are going after gangs whether they are street or special unit officers.

Auto burglary was up 8.7 percent in October going from 23 to 25 cases while commercial burglary jumped 56.25 percent going from seven to 16.
In comparing the first 10 months of 2009 to the first 10 months of 2010 only one other category besides aggravated assault has increased and that is other burglaries. They are up 54.55 percent going from 11 to 17.

Some critics claim that the figures supplied by the Manteca Police Department are incorrect.

Bricker has indicated that it would be counterproductive for Manteca to downplay crime statistics as that is what a lot of discretionary state and federal money for crime fighting that requires competing with other communities is based upon.

Also, he has said there is little chance that someone who is a victim of a serious felony - of which all 12 felonies that are tracked by the FBI in the so-called Part One Crime Offenses are. Some claim people have given up reporting crime. That might be the case with some misdemeanors but as Bricker has pointed out people who are stabbed, have their cars or homes broken into, vehicle stolen, who are raped, have money stolen and such tend to call police.

Regardless of the stats, however, Bricker has argued the crime rate is too high especially when you are the victim.

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