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Assaults down as police shift attention to property crimes
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Rising temperatures mean rising crime.

“Criminals are like most the people,” noted Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker. “They don’t like cold and wet weather.”

It is a phenomenon that happens in virtually all jurisdictions according to Bricker.

As warmer weather approaches police are shifting attention to property crime after being able to put a dent in violent crimes, particularly aggravated assault.

Aggravated assault was off 57.7 percent in March from February with the number of incidents dropping to three thanks to basic police work that has gotten those responsible for much of the violence off the streets. Year-to-year March stats show a 52.17 percent decline in aggravated assaults going from 23 in 2010 to 11 this year. Most are gang-related. Bricker said police have concentrated resources on putting as much of a lid as possible on violence

Meanwhile some property crimes have inched up slightly. Auto burglary was up 21.62 percent with 45 incidents in March compared to February when there were 37 incidents. Residential burglaries have jumped from 25 in February to 28 in March for a 12 percent climb.

Shoplifting or commercial burglary was up 175 percent going from four to 11. But unlike other thefts a crime isn’t reported unless someone sees someone taking an item. Bricker actually said efforts by loss prevention officers at Costco, JC Penney, and Kohl’s have allowed officers to make a significant increase in arrests.

In month-to-month comparisons vehicle theft was down 16.67 percent in March going from 24 to 20, grand theft was down 31.25 percent going from 16 to 11, and other burglaries such as items stolen from sheds was down 83.33 percent going from 6 to 1.

The chief said officers would like to have the public’s assistance to keep a lid on crime this spring and summer as much as possible. The best ways they can do that are:

• Don’t leave anything in view in your car.

Bricker said there has been an upswing in auto break-ins especially near Bass Pro Shop, Stadium Retail Center, and Big League Dreams parking lots. In virtually every case either the car was unlocked or something was in clear view for a quick smash and grab.

“It doesn’t matter if it is loose change or a gym bag,” Bricker said.

• Clean out your garage and park your vehicles in them at night.

Bricker said most of Manteca’s auto thefts happen in clusters and are done primarily from Stockton gangs sweeping through town looking for four and five vehicles to take.

• Lock your doors, secure your windows, cut shrubs away from blocking views of windows, and leave a light on at night.

Most residential burglaries occur via an unlocked door or a window that is left open or unsecured. Bricker noted that if shrubs allow a burglar to hide from street view you are making it easier for them to operate.

• Get to know your neighbors.

Bricker said they are the best eyes to notice if someone is around your house that doesn’t belong when you’re not at home.