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Auto thefts in Manteca drop 13.5%

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POSTED January 29, 2018 2:16 a.m.

Manteca’s vehicle thefts in raw numbers last year were at the lowest since 2013 and 58.3 percent lower than in 2005 when 2.2 autos were stolen on an average day.

Last year saw an average of 0.80 vehicles stolen on a daily basis.

The City of Manteca managed a 13.53 percent drop in auto theft going from 340 in 2016 to 294 last year. The only time the actual number was lower since the dawn of the current century was 270 in 2012 and 238 in 2011. The rate per 1,000 residents in 2017 was actually slightly lower at 3.80 last year as compared to 3.81 in 2012. The vehicle theft rate per 1,000 residents was 3.40 in 2011.

The highest year for vehicle thefts in Manteca is still 2005 when 798 vehicles were stolen. That was 13.3 vehicles per 1,000 residents or roughly 3.5 times the per capita rate in 2017. The 798 vehicles stolen in 2005 included a big rig tractor left idling in front of a home and a Manteca Police patrol unit.

For the first time since at least 2003 the Stockton Metro area — that includes Manteca, Lathrop, and Lodi — did not make the top 10 cities for the highest per capita of vehicle the United States.

Modesto continued to make the top 10 list in 2016 as it has consistently done since at least 2003 coming in at No. 4 based on statistics kept for vehicle thefts per 1,000 as compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Since 2010, at least six — and sometimes eight — of the top 10 cities in the country for auto theft were in California.  In addition since 2008 four of the top cities nationally for auto theft can be found along the Highway 99 corridor passing through the San Joaquin Valley.

 Modesto since 2003 has been the top vehicle theft city in the nation six times, No. 2 four times, as well as once at No. 4, No. 5, and No. 7. Stockton has never had the dubious honor of being the No.1 vehicle theft city in the nation at any time since 2003. It has been No. 2 twice, No. 3 once. No. 4 twice, No. 5 three times, No. 6 once, No. 7 once, and did not make the top 10 list once.

Other San Joaquin Valley cities that routinely appear on the list are Merced, Visalia, Fresno, and Bakersfield.

Nationally, more than 600,000 vehicles are stolen in a given year in the United States.

Manteca Police since 2005 have been especially aggressive at times going after auto thieves. Besides dedicating an officer to the countywide auto theft task force that includes several other jurisdictions teamed up with the CHP, Manteca in the past has deployed bait cars in high crime areas to catch auto thieves in the act and then cutting off the engine.

They also did a full-scale education effort telling the public repeatedly to not keep their engines running or keys in the ignition. Between 2005 and 2010 nearly a quarter of all vehicles stolen in Manteca had keys in the ignition or were left idling while owners went back into their homes or stopped to get coffee,

At one point the police proposed making it a citable offense to leave your keys in the vehicle. Public sentiment derailed the move but the public heard the message.

The highest theft cars tend to be older models without a lot of year-to-year changes.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail

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