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Neighborhood, police combat illegal fireworks

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POSTED June 13, 2013 1:08 a.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

The proliferation of illegal fireworks in Manteca seems serious. Recently we have been dealing with this issue in our neighborhood north-west of Union Road and Louise Avenue too. It was like bombs going off and aerial displays of Baghdad during “Desert Storm”. It’s not fair to point the finger at the city claiming they are doing nothing about the issue.

For the past few months we had major fireworks of the type described in a recent letter to the editor going off most evenings. This neighborhood harassment was rattling our windows, waking people who had to get up early for work, generally shaking the nerves of the locals and degrading our quality of life. I wrote to the Mayor, Manteca Police and Fire Departments. Four hours after sending an email I had Officer Crowley of the Manteca Police Department knocking on my door investigating.

Let’s put the issue into perspective. I understand the frustration.  We have stretched our police force thin. I feel guilty complaining about fireworks when we have drive-bys in this town shooting on the street by the local ambulance company. We as citizens have a responsibility to be interactive in our community.

What seems to have worked for us in reducing the activity is being proactive, talking to my neighbors, sharing my letter to the city with them, especially the ones with kids. They spread the word major trouble is brewing. Officer Crowley increased his presence in the neighborhood when he could. Just having the unit drive by with “Manteca Police” on the door advertises “don’t think about it, dude” in the neighborhood. Some of the men in the neighborhood set up a watch to try to catch the perpetrators so the police could do a “knock and talk”. This all took place in the last three weeks. During that time the occurrence has been reduced a good 95%.

The Fourth of July is coming. I expect illegal fireworks will get worse. If you catch people in the act, photograph them, give the police an address where the vermin lives and we can end this growing problem.

Paul A. Schmitt
June 12, 2013

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