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Homeless rifling thru Lathrop trash
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LATHROP – Rosalinda Valencia doesn’t want homeless people rifling through the trash in Lathrop. 

And she wants Lathrop Police Services to know that they need to be out there enforcing what she characterized as a “growing problem” if they want to remain in good standing in the community. 

Her claims also included rising crime and a lack of interest by deputies patrolling the streets.

Rudely translated, they need to keep the streets clean or else the contract that the City of Lathrop has with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department is going bye-bye. 

The outspoken community advocate and current mayoral candidate drew the ire of sitting Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal when she directed her loaded comments towards the department and painted a picture that Dhaliwal felt was out of bounds. 

And he let her know. 

“Our council members get a weekly report and when you look at our city when compared to neighboring cities – I’m glad to be living in Lathrop,” Dhaliwal said. “I think that this is just a tactic because there’s an election in November. 

“We’re just 10 minutes from South Stockton and when you look at the numbers, it’s day-and-night. That’s just an unfair comparison. They’re doing a good job and we’re doing a good job and the crime isn’t low here by accident – the crime is low here because we have people out there that are enforcing it.”

Valencia’s claim was that many of the crimes that take place in town go unreported, and therefore aren’t listed on any official stat sheet. 

But the rifling of trash did gain a little bit of traction. 

Just a week after the City of Manteca elected to take the drastic step to implementing a pilot program that essentially locked down its recycling toters to prevent overnight theft – the city receives money from an annual contract inked with the company that takes the recycling, and cross-contamination with garbage ruins the load – the idea of keeping people out and away from receptacles didn’t fall on deaf ears. 

According to Lathrop Police Chief Danielle Hohe, her understanding of the law is that once garbage has been placed in a bin that is owned by somebody else – be it an independent company under contract or the City of Lathrop – going through it and taking something, at that point, becomes a crime. 

Other issues related to homelessness, like the placement of “No Panhandling” signs in areas where it is known to take place, were also discussed by the council. Lathrop has an ordinance on the books against the activity and may look at other ways to strengthen language to give law enforcement the tools needed for adequate enforcement.