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Lathrop residents voice concern on upswing in crime

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POSTED June 25, 2012 1:54 a.m.

LATHROP – All that Omar Khweiss wanted to do was celebrate his birthday.

But when gunfire erupted at the tx Night Club earlier this month claiming one life and leaving two others injured, the Lathrop father and active member of the community had to rethink where he wanted to spend a night with friends.

And he’s not happy about what he sees as a recent spike in crime for a city that prides itself on being family-oriented.

Last week Khweiss aired his grievances to the Lathrop City Council in an attempt to not only bring the problems to light but to also get the ball moving towards finding a sensible solution that will make the streets safer.

He admits that Lathrop might not have the same caliber of problems that larger neighboring cities might be dealing with, but added that simply not being as bad as somebody else isn’t good enough.

“Just because our city is south of Stockton doesn’t mean that it has to become South Stockton,” Khweiss said. “All of us must do our parts.”

Ultimately Khweiss contacted the owner of the club who assured him that security would be tight and had a conversation with Lathrop Police Services Lt. Chris Pehl about the status of the investigation that gave him a solid enough feeling to enjoy a night on the town without the threat of violence.

Rather than simply badmouth the police, Khweiss used the meeting as a chance to chat with Pehl about some of the things that are going on and created an open forum where the police could address some of the issues that have been on the rise – like home burglaries.

According to Pehl, the department has solicited the aid of a crime analyst to help staff map out problem areas in the community are located in an attempt to catch thieves before they strike. Deputies, he said, have been keeping a close eye on businesses in town and the department has taken ownership of the problems.

While shootings have subsided since the tx Night Club incident left one man dead, the uptick in Manteca – which left one man in serious condition when he was gunned down half-a-block from his house and injured five members of the same family, including a 3-year-old and a pregnant woman, when a car fired on a party from an alley – has been cause for alarm from people in the community.

Manteca  Mayor Willie Weatherford  will speak on Thursday, June 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the meeting of the Manteca TEA Party Patriots about the rash of violent crime and what is being done to prevent it from getting further out of hand.

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