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Vehicle thefts up as many other felonies fall in Manteca
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Felony crimes dropped almost 2 percent in Manteca during July.

For 2008 through July 31, felony crimes are down 13.61 percent in Manteca.

It continues a trend that started in 2008 after Manteca was able to expand its police force with Measure M sales tax revenue. The budget crisis earlier this month ended up reducing the number of sworn officers from 72 to 60. Of the remaining officers, 11 are funded with the Measure M half cent sales tax and two from the public safety endowment fund established by developers.

There were 213 Part One Crime reports – the most serious crimes as identified by the FBI – in July of this year compared to 217 in March of 2008.

There was one significant flip – auto thefts. After years of declining, vehicle thefts shot up 61.29 percent in July with 50 vehicles stolen compared to 31 in July of 2008. Vehicle thefts are now 4.48 percent ahead for the first seventh months of 2009 with 210 cars stolen this year compared to 201 last year. That is still significantly below 2005 when vehicle thefts reached a record 720 in Manteca.

The drop off in various categories of felonies from July 2008 to July 2009 is as follows:
•Residential burglaries down 20.69 percent from 29 to 23.
•Auto burglary down 16.95 percent from 59 to 49.
•Commercial burglary down 75 percent from 8 to 2.
•Other felonies down 20.37 percent from 53 to 43
•Other burglaries were unchanged with 2 each month.
The felonies that did increase from July to July were:
•Robbery up 175 percent from 4 to 11.
•Vehicle theft up 61.29 percent from 31 to 50.
•Aggravated assault was up 100 percent from 3 to 6.

Police Chief Dave Bricker has repeatedly credited the rank-and-file from patrolmen to detectives with stepping up and delivering the best possible protection for Manteca’s residents given the financial constraints they are operating under.

Police are also credited with making a concerted effort to reduce overtime knowing it could mean the job of a fellow officer.

The new protocol put in place this year is for officers to assess whether the case they are preparing is a report on is a crime in progress or there is a strong chance of catching someone if it is completed as quickly as possible or if it is something they can put their pen down and come back to the next day they are on duty.

That alone has shaved more than $400,000 off the police budget. Much of the overtime is tough to control due to judges scheduling court appearances when officers may be off, an active top priority crime that happens near the end of their shift, and if there is a manpower issue due to illness, a call back for a major crime in progress, or a major event requiring police staffing.

Overall, felonies are down 1.84 percent from July to July while misdemeanor offenses went from 332 to 314 for a 5.42 percent drop.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail