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Lathrop mayor seeks police cameras at city entrances
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Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal - photo by Bulletin file photo

Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal believes the city can reverse a growing uptick in property crimes by installing cameras at every entrance to the city.
And to give Lathrop Policer Services and extra boost, he believes license plate scanners that rapidly read license plates looking for those that have been reported stolen will effectively enhance the effectiveness of officers to nip crime in the bud. Stolen cars — or simply stolen plates — are used in the commission of a high percentage of property crimes whether they are burglaries or shoplifting.
Ripon was one of the first cities to go to street cameras. There system has bene sued numerous times to make arrests  including twice when bank robbers were caught before reaching the Highway 99 freeway and within a half mile of crossing the Stanislaus River.
After a sit-down discussion on Tuesday with Lathrop Police Chief James Hood, Dhaliwal says that he will be bringing back a recommendation to the Lathrop City Council to fund cameras at every entrance and exit of the growing city to thwart thieves and would-be criminals and send a message that the city takes its safety seriously.
“We have to take the proactive approach and take care of things before they really get out of hand – we’ll take all of the measures that are available to us to do that, and do everything that we’re allowed to do,” Dhaliwal said. “We need to send a strong message to the would-be criminals that we will not tolerate this, and we will do everything that we can to make sure that our citizens don’t become victims.”
As part of his proposal, Dhaliwal said that he wants the council to look at all the options towards providing enhanced digital security coming into all points at the city, potentially including license plate scanners that will notify law enforcement if a stolen vehicle is picked up by the digital machine.
The scanners have been discussed in the past when River Islands considered installing them for similar reasons but the “big brother” element proved to be too much for some residents surveyed in the planned community of 11,000 homes and the idea was abandoned.
Dhaliwal said that his proposal isn’t intended to violate anybody’s privacy, but noted that the council must make decisions in advance of major issues to prevent them from taking place – hoping that the consensus, and the funding, will be there when the governing body meets next month.
“We will look at all of the different aspects, the legal aspects, and all of the costs associated with the different tools that are available today,” Dhaliwal said. “I really hope that it’s something that the council can get behind.”
In addition to council action, Lathrop Police Services will utilize its crime mapping data and increase patrols – especially at night – in areas that have been hotbeds for property crimes in the recent past to establish a presence and act as a deterrent for thieves and vandals that have been more active in the community recently.
Armed with the data, Dhaliwal believes that the patrols themselves will be effective and hopes that the combined with cameras, will drive property crime down and keep it there for the time being.
“We don’t really have an established trend when it comes to crime in Lathrop – we notice that it starts to go up in certain areas, we take proactive steps to push it back down, and it stays flat for a while,” Dhaliwal said. “Hopefully these proposals will prevent the need to take those steps in reaction to what we’re seeing.
“I think this is something that will be very good for the residents of Lathrop.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.