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Knock, knock burglars on prowl
Hitting Manteca homes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Police Chief walking downtown street fair

Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker is serving as street marshal for the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau’s 14th annual Crossroads of California downtown street fair Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
He will be walking the fair both days. He encourages residents to share concerns or observations and police service with him at that time.

They come knocking typically on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you answer the door, they’ll either ask for directions, try to sell you something, or else ask for someone they know doesn’t live at the house.

Their real intent is to find out if you’re not home.

If you don’t answer the door, they are likely to let themselves into your back yard searching for open windows and doors. If your side door to your garage isn’t visible from the street or located where a neighbor might hear a commotion, they’ll break into it to gain access to your house.

They will take cash, jewelry and small electronics. They are things they can simply walk away with down the street without attracting attention.

Residential burglars who are casing neighborhoods on foot have prompted Police Chief Dave Bricker to issue a citywide warning to residents following an upswing in such crimes in the past few weeks.

“We are encouraging all of our residents to lock their doors and windows when they leave their residences and to call the police when they see suspicious persons or activity in their neighborhood,” said Police Chief Dave Bricker.

Residential burglaries were down 47.89 percent in January and February compared to the same two months in 2009 as they dropped from 71 to 37. While March and April statistics aren’t out yet, police are concerned that a recent upswing in burglaries - primarily those done by people walking through neighborhoods – may start reversing a downward trend for residential burglaries in Manteca that has been going on 18 months.

“Most home burglaries are crimes of opportunity,” noted Manteca Police Public Information Officer Rex Osborn. “They (the criminals) don’t want to be seen or heard.”

That is why going on foot – instead of casing neighborhoods in vehicles - is growing as a preferred way to conduct residential burglaries.

That is why police are warning for people to look out for suspicious persons in their neighborhood and to call police. Osborn noted officers may not come right away to check out a suspicious person due to other calls, but simply having a description and knowing where a suspicious person is gives the police the ability to deploy resources when they become available to try and prevent crimes.

In a number of cases in the past 18 months, alert citizens have brought police who have stopped suspicious people. In more than a few cases, they have found people in possession of burglary tools and possession they can’t offer proof of ownership in their possession. While they may not be able to nab them for burglary they can for possession of burglary tools. And if the person is on probation, they can arrest them on a violation charge.

“One of the most effective ways to deter crime is if you see someone strange walking through your neighborhood to simply say ‘hi’ to them,” Osborn said. “Criminals don’t like to be noticed.”

Equally important, according to the chief, is developing an effective Neighborhood Watch group.

“Please look out for yourselves and your neighbors,” Bricker said.

A Neighborhood Watch group helps those involved to become aware of the routines of their neighbors and makes them more aware of suspicious activity.

For information on forming a Neighborhood Watch group, contact Osborn at 456-8144.