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Juvenile burglary suspects may soon wear ankle monitors
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Juveniles arrested for burglary in Manteca may soon be forced to wear ankle monitors.

The Manteca Police Department is working with the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office to implement such a program. Currently, juveniles arrested on burglary charges rarely spend any time in juvenile hall due to overcrowded conditions and the need to reserve space for more violent offenders.

As a result, they are simply released back into the custody of their parents while awaiting trial.

In the most high profile instance of juvenile burglary, one teen was the ringleader for over $250,000 in residential burglaries over the course of a number of of months often using kids as young as 12 to help him commit the crimes.

Manteca Police arrested him repeatedly only to see him released almost immediately back on the streets. He became so brazen that even after his picture appeared in the Bulletin after being arrested on suspicion of committing one burglary, he was on the street several days later casing houses on a school day morning. A citizen recognized him from the photo in the newspaper and called police who arrested him again with burglary tools. His luck changed when he turned 18 and was arrested on suspicion of yet another burglary.

Manteca Police have also made arrests in residential burglaries involving teens where before they could complete the investigation the suspects would be released from juvenile hall.

In one case, the police were going through the process of identifying property stolen and when they were able to trace guns to the burglary the youths had already been released in less than a few days.

Most residential burglaries occur between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Many are committed by unsupervised juveniles who are truant from school. The police already work with the school district, Boys & Girls Club, and school resource officers to reduce truancy.

The ankle monitor proposal is part of an extensive public safety report that Police Chief Dave Bricker and Fire Chief Kirk Waters are making to the City Council Tuesday during their 7 p.m. meeting at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., at the request of Councilman Steve DeBrum.

The federal Department of Justice Uniform Crime Reports that covers murder, rape, auto theft and 21 offenses indicated there was a 2 percent decrease in crime nationally during 2008. The same reporting mechanism showed Manteca’s crime rate dropped 18 percent the same year.

The trend in 2009 was still downward when it comes to crime with the exception of auto thefts, arson, robbery, and sexual assault.

In the first three months of this year, felonies dropped another 28.4 percent in Manteca while misdemeanor crimes were down another 29.7 percent.