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Crime down in Manteca except for gang violence
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Felonies - the most violent and costly of all crimes - continued their three-year downslide in Manteca during April.

Overall 10 of 12 categories of felonies dropped 22.94 percent compared to April of 2009.

There was one glaring exception - gang violence.

April was the month with several gang-related shootings including one where the victims were shot but did not sustain life threatening wounds by a gang member that stuck a gun under a garage door shortly around midnight on one night.

Police Chief Dave Bricker noted that in all of the gang-violence related cases that month suspects have either been arrested or those responsible have been identified and are being sought.

As of the end of April, a vehicle was stolen every 33.5 hours in Manteca so far in2010.

That is a far cry from 2004 when vehicles were swiped every 11.4 hours with a record 798 stolen by year’s end. If the current pace continues, Manteca could have 246 vehicle thefts in 2010 or less than 30 percent of the number stolen four years ago.

Auto theft is a prime example of Manteca’s continuing dropping crime rate of the 11 so call Part One Crimes that are serious felonies that the FBI uses as a measuring stick to determine, local, state, and national crime rates.

Nine of those 11 categories - except aggravated assault and a small clean-up category dubbed other burglaries - are down so far in year-to-year comparisons based on the uniform data Manteca Police Department culled from crimes reported in April.

Critics dismiss the data saying that people are frustrated and not reporting crime. But as Public Affairs Officer Rex Osborn has noted people do report felonies as they run the gamut from residential and commercial burglary armed robbery, homicide and aggravated assault to vehicle theft and auto burglaries.

Police have indicated people may indeed underreport misdemeanors such as thefts and such due to frustration with being able to obtain an officer to do a report. Manteca, like other jurisdictions has moved away from police officers handling misdemeanor reports. You can still have a community service officer respond but it could take upwards of four to six hours depending upon the work load. Instead, Manteca makes it possible to report misdemeanors on-line where they are handled and responded to by supervisorial officers. The on-line reporting can be accessed by going to, clicking on Manteca Police and the clicking on on-line reporting where instructions are posted.

Police Chief Dave Bricker has emphasized that any crime is too much crime especially when it happens to you, he has noted that he credits solid police work and dedication of his offices plus cooperation form the public for making a dent in Manteca’s crime rate.

Part of that effort has been focusing resources on habitual criminals and building cases to get them off the streets and into state prison.

Citizen cooperation chas also played a key role.

At the peak of the auto theft frenzy in Manteca, about 25 percent of all cars taken were either left with keys in the ignition or with engines running and unattended. It wasn’t unusual in 2004 for at least once a month for police to get a report of a car being stolen by someone who started it up to warm the engine and then went inside for a cup of coffee. What makes it ironic is post 1990 vehicle engineering plus Manteca’s mild weather makes warming up a vehicle superfluous.

Manteca Police have been able to drastically reduce easy car thefts through residents cooperating and not leaving keys in their cars or engines running as much as they once did.

Observant citizens are also a big help. Several burglary suspects have been caught recently because residents paid attention to the daily routine in their neighborhoods and were quick to report something amiss.

The drop of in various categories of felonies from the first four months of 2009 compared to the first four months of 2009 is as follows:

•Residential burglaries down 23.84 percent from 115 to 81.

•Vehicle theft down 23.58 percent from 106 to 81.

•Arson down 60 percent from 5 to 2.

•Auto burglary down 35 percent from 200 to 130.

•Commercial burglary down 26.9 percent from 46 to 34.

•Grand theft down 17.81 percent from 73 to 60.

•Robbery down 39.32 percent from 28 to 17.

•Rape or unlawful intercourse down 53.85 percent from 13 to 6.

•All other felonies down 20.64 percent from 218 to 173.

The felony crime categories that went up during the same time period are as follows:

•Aggravated assault up 106.25 percent from 16 to 33.

•Other burglary up 266.67 percent from 3 to 11.

Misdemeanor thefts are also down 10.55 percent in the four-month comparisons going from 199 in 2009 to 178 in 2010.

All other misdemeanors are off 28.44 percent (1,062 down to 760). Altogether misdemeanor crimes have dropped off 25.51 percent in Manteca.

Other Manteca crimes in the first four months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009 are as follows:

•Narcotic offenses are down 45.63 percent from 206 to 112.

•Alcohol offenses are down 4.57 percent from 219 to 209.

•Fraud and forgery are down 30.26 percent from 152 to 106.

•Code enforcement violations are down 13.33 percent from 15 to 13.

Domestic violence is up 0.90 percent going from 111 to 112.