By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Chief Bricker dispels myths about crime in Manteca
Placeholder Image

Repeated double-digit drops in Manteca’s crime rate over the past several years has prompted skeptics to claim it is only because people are frustrated and have stopped reporting crime.

That - according to Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker - is a myth.

 “People are going to report crimes if they are victims of armed robbery, get beaten, have their car stolen, or (are victims of) other felonies,” Bricker said. `

The double-digit drops have occurred among the 11 so called Part One Crimes that are serious felonies that the FBI uses as a measuring stick to determine local, state, and national crime rates.

Bricker noted it is to the city’s advantage not to underreport crime as the statistics are critical to securing a myriad of federal and state grant money to bolster public safety. Manteca’s commitment to keeping accurate and up-to-date crime stats was a major factor in securing federal stimulus funds that helped retain four police officers. Some nearby cities such as Tracy did not qualify due to crime reports not being current or that it may have reflected a lower crime rate.

At the same time Bricker noted it is more likely that misdemeanors will be underreported as some people don’t report petty theft or even having their vehicles burglarized. He did note though that reporting has jumped since the city made it possible to do on-line reports of misdemeanor crimes.

Other major myths noted by Bricker include:

  • More cops will translate into less gang activity.

Bricker made it clear that while he doesn’t want to minimize the seriousness of gang violence” more cops would help but noted gang violence tends to be cyclical and will occur even if police presence is stepped up. He noted back three years ago when there was a major flare-up of gang violence in the city that Manteca Police were having just as a tough time as now in keeping on top of it although the department had 82 sworn officers compared to 59 today.

Having less manpower does make it more difficult, though, to concentrate resources on going after key players in gangs.

  • Budget cutbacks have reduced police presence on the street.

Bricker said that simply is not the case. He pointed out that specialty units such as traffic, narcotics, gangs, and detectives have been reduced to keep patrol staffing at the same level.

The police chief said some have used an alley shooting involving gangs near Library Park as an example of an alleged patrol manpower shortage. 

Manteca, the claim goes, is short staffed because there was only one unit that responded to the scene. Bricker said that wasn’t the case. When officers determined that no one was hurt other units instead of going directly to Library Park started combing possible escape routes that the suspect vehicle took.

“That’s Basic Policing 101,” the chief noted.

  • Speeding in neighborhoods is from the people passing through it.

Bricker said that isn’t the case except for a few key roads such as Mission Ridge Drive by Wal-Mart and Norman Drive near Spreckels Park.

When pressed by residents to step up traffic enforcement in their neighborhoods Bricker warns them that almost all of the speeders the traffic unit nabs will live within the neighborhood.

“That is exactly what happens,” Bricker said.