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Felonies drop as Manteca adds residents
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Serious crime continues to drop in Manteca.

Four months into 2015, the index of 11 Part One Crimes that the FBI measures to determine the relative safety of a community is down 4.19 percent through April of this year compared to the first four months of 2014.

Misdemeanor crime is also down 9.81 percent for the same period going from 1,132 through April of 2014 to 1,021 through April of this year. Manteca’s population has grown by 1,050 since April of 2014.

The April statistics come on the heels of two consecutive years of serious felonies such as robbery, vehicle theft, murder, aggravated assault, residential burglary, arson, grand theft and others dropping in Manteca.

There were 1,745 felonies reported in Manteca in 2014. That’s down 18.23 percent from 2013 and just seven more than the 1,728 reported in 2002. If the current trend for felonies — there were 610 from January through April — continues 2015 could end up as the lowest year for felonies since 2001 in Manteca.

Once you factor in growth, the crime rate — felonies per 1,000 residents — have dropped significantly. When 1,728 felonies reported in Manteca in 2002 there were just 54,975 Manteca residents. While Manteca grew by 18,000 to 72,850 in 2014 felonies jumped just seven from 2002 levels going from 1,728 to 1,735.

Felonies grew in the mid-2000s at a rate faster than the population before dipping. Much of the increase then was connected with gang and drug activity that spiked everything from vehicle thefts to a record 798 in 2004 to aggravated assault. Vehicle thefts in 2014 were at 347. So far this year they are trending downward with 97 in the first four months of 2015 compared to 115 for the same period last year for a drop of 15.56 percent.

Burglaries — auto, residential and commercial — were down 31.74 percent in 2014. They dropped from 964 in 2013 to 658 in 2014. They had spiked upward in 2011 and 2012 reaching 1,101 and 1,017 respectively after recording only 800 in 2010. The years 2010 and 2011 were when gang activity last spiked in Manteca.

Manteca has since re-deployed a four-office gang suppression unit that was dropped during the early days of budget cuts due to the Great Recession.

There were 251 burglaries in all classifications between January and April of this year, down four from 258 during the same four months last year. Specifically, auto burglary is off 26.97 percent from 152 to 2011. The biggest hike has been in commercial burglary jumping 61.11 percent going from 36 to 58. Residential burglaries are relatively flat with 67 in the first four months of this year as opposed to 50 through April in 2014.

And even though California voters in November changed some felonies into misdemeanors, the number has been negligible when it came to Manteca’s crime statistics.

The categories impacted by the voter mandated change — grand theft in the felony column — and misdemeanor thefts  are actually down three overall so far this year. Grand thefts dropped from 63 to 53 and misdemeanor thefts 358 to 345.

Even if the drop of 10 grand theft felonies happened to be by the voters increasing the value threshold for a theft to be considered a felony, misdemeanor thefts dropped more than grand theft meaning overall thefts regardless of the classification are down.

And while year to day arrests through April are down 10.15 percent going from 788 to 708 and the value of property stolen is up 14.9 percent to $1.498 million, the property that police have recovered has jumped 32.87 percent to $790,985.

Although crime has been dropping in terms of both actual numbers and crimes per 1,000, Police Chief Nick Obligacion has said any crime is unacceptable.