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Manteca gang activity flares up as summer temperatures rise
Manteca Police officer Jason Hensley is shown during a recent outreach program, designed to educate the community about gangs, that was conducted at the Fellowship Baptist Church. - photo by Bulletin file photo

It’s almost a given: Gang activity on Manteca’s streets pick up when the temperature heats up.

That’s what happened during the six days of 100-degree plus heat that encompassed the three-day Fourth of July weekend.

Police Chief Bricker said all but one of the two shootings and eight stabbings that happened over the three-day weekend were gang-related. The one that wasn’t was a shooting stemming from a long simmering feud between two Manteca men.

Bricker noted arrests have been made in half of the incidents while suspects have been identified in the others. Some of the suspects will be difficult to arrest, though, given victims who are gang members themselves do not want to cooperate with police.

Police said almost all of the suspects are non-Manteca residents. They involved gang members from Hayward, Castro Valley, Lathrop, Modesto, and Stockton.

“It is gang-on-gang violence,” Bricker said.

Police, though, are concerned that an innocent bystander could get hurt.

That is why officers are currently planning a strategy in a bid to put more pressure on gangs. That could involve other agencies to conduct a gang sweep.

Manteca has 512 documented gang members.

Bricker said the importance of officers gleaning intelligence that meets court-imposed standards to determine gang membership can’t be underestimated

Any documented gang member convicted of a felony gets an enhanced sentence regardless of the outcome of the incident

Two years ago, as an example, police arrested a documented gang member who was found guilty of a drive-by shooting where only a building was hit. Had he not been a gang member, he would have received several years at the most for his first offense. But since he was a documented gang member he received a minimum sentence of 20 years.

“Documented gang members (sent to prison for crimes) are one group of prisoners that won’t be getting an early release,” Bricker said.