Every 34.5 hours a home is burglarized in Manteca.
The 211 residential burglaries through Oct. 31 of this year represent a 48.59 percent increase over the same time period in 2014 when 142 burglaries were reported. But the raw number is lower than in 2013, 2011 and 2009. And when you factor in population increases that provides the most equitable yardstick to compare crime trends over the years — crimes per 1,000 residents — the current year is only worse than one other time going 20 back years — last year.
Even though burglaries are up, Manteca Police are recovering more stolen property — $1,737,427 so far this year through Oct. 31. That’s a 14.94 percent increase over 2014. And there is now a 46 percent chance that whatever is stolen will be eventually recovered by police.
While all of that may be a cause for alarm, once you go beyond the numbers a different picture emerges.
Manteca has not had a “home invasion” robbery per se. Incidents where criminals have busted into occupied homes have been ultimately tied into drugs or other illegal activities or where the perpetrators knew the family and were looking for something specific in the house. In other words, they were neither a random burglary nor did they involve strangers.
The overwhelming majority of homes burglarized when people are away involved homes where occupants didn’t take basic steps to reduce the potential of becoming crime victims.
“Criminals look for homes to hit that they can get in and out quickly without being detected,” noted Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion.
Over the years officers have consistently noted homes with burglary alarms and signs advising they have them as well as homes that are well lit at night or that have taken steps to make it easy for neighbors and others to detect suspicious persons during the day with appropriate landscaping tend not to fall victim to residential burglaries.
“Criminals take the path of least resistance,” the chief said.
A major game changer has been home video security systems, especially those monitored by an alarm firm.
There have now been several times where police have been able to catch burglars in the act after being alerted by monitoring firms who gave them real time updates of what burglars were doing in a house. Because it is a confirmed burglary in process, it bumps an alarm up to a priority call.
Video without monitoring by a firm that either stores images as they are recorded or can be monitored by the owner using an app on their smartphone that alerts them of a possible intrusion also can be effective.
“If you get a video surveillance camera keep in mind the cheaper cameras have images that aren’t that good” Obligacion said.