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2009: Criminals losing ground
Mantecas serious crimes drop 16.82%
The September Bank of America hold-up and the subsequent stand-off at a nearby duplex was one of 85 robberies during 2009 in Manteca. - photo by Bulletin file photo

It wasn’t a banner year for criminals.

Not only was serious crime down 16.82 percent in 2009 but the chances of criminals getting caught went up.

Even though almost all categories of property crime dropped what declined even more was the value of property stolen. Thieves swiped property valued at $4,185,531 in 2009 compared to $6,399,845 in 2008 for a drop of 34.6 percent.

And perhaps even more striking was December – the second full month with a reduced police force due to Manteca’s municipal budget issues - which registered a 27.6 drop in serious crime compared to December 2008 and a 45.6 percent drop in overall burglaries when compared to December 2008 as well. Year-to-year burglaries are down 28.17 percent.

The 2009 Manteca Police crime statistics report contained upbeat trends that builds on two previous years of declines in crime.

The so-called “Part One” crime offenses – 12 felonies the FBI uses to determine the relative safety of a community are comprised of serious crimes. That includes homicide, rape or unlawful intercourse, robbery, aggravated assault, commercial burglary, residential burglary, other burglary, auto burglary, grand theft, vehicle theft, arson, and all other felonies.

Homicides were up 100 percent with two murders. The cases – just like the one murder in 2008 – were cleared with suspects arrested. In all three cases the murder victims knew their alleged assailant.

Rape or unlawful intercourse was up 19.23 percent going from 26 in 2008 to 31 in 2009. Robbery – which consists of taking something by force physically or using a weapon was up 4.94 percent going from 81 to 85.

Manteca ended 2009 with 351 vehicle thefts. That was up 9.35 percent over 2008 when there were 321 vehicles stolen. It is the first upward annual increase after vehicle thefts reached a record 798 in 2004 when a vehicle was stolen every 10.9 hours in Manteca.

The downward trend in vehicle thefts – except for the past year – reflects the one-two punch that Manteca Police have employed in targeting several problem areas. First, it utilized education. At the height of the 2004 thefts, one out of every four vehicles stolen had its keys left in the ignition or was actually running and left unattended. Police also put in place bait cars in high theft areas to catch culprits in the act and then shutting off the engine and remotely locking the doors as they moved in for the arrest. They also targeted repeat offenders in a bid to get the criminals responsible for the most crimes off the street.

Those are the also reasons why commercial burglary is down 15.83 percent from 139 in 2008 to 117 in 2009, residential burglary is down 14.2 percent from 324 in 2008 to 278 in 2009, and auto burglary is down 36.1 percent from 698 in 2008 to 446 in 2009.

Misdemeanor thefts are down 22.02 percent from 731 in 2008 to 570 in 2009.

Narcotics offenses year-to-year are off 27.2 percent dipping from 624 to 451 while alcohol offenses dropped 10.33 percent going from 736 in 2008 to 660 in 2009.

Even fraud and forgery that often involves identify theft dropped 8.37 percent going from 418 to 383.