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Manteca Police seeking to educate businesses Monday on what they can do & is being done
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A homeless individual sets up shop at the entrance to the Manteca Bulletin on a Saturday afternoon.

How business owners can best deal with homeless issues — including those who bed down in the doorways of their stores as well as litter and defecate on their properties — is a topic of a Manteca Police Department outreach.

The department’s Business Watch Academy takes place Monday, March 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Manteca Transit Center on Moffat Boulevard at South Main Street under the leadership of Police Lt. Steve Schluer. A team of seven officers will go over a litany of issues from the prevention of fraud, credit card fraud and general theft as well as homeless concerns.  Merchants and business professionals will also hear about crime prevention, thefts, vehicle burglaries, vandalism and the Manteca Police security camera program. 

Communities throughout the valley are being plagued with homeless issues.  Davis in Yolo County west of Sacramento is going through situations similar to Manteca as is Lodi and Tracy.

Community Resource Officer Michael Kelly will offer:

uEducation on current laws pertaining to homelessness and crimes.

uEducation on current Manteca Municipal codes related to homelessness.  

uInformation on what efforts are being made to combat homelessness. 

uInformation on the homeless task force and what it constitutes.

uInformation on crime prevention relating to the homeless.

uProviding resources to local businesses that are having issues with homelessness. 

Detective David Bright will cover the use of drones in the Manteca community and explain the program. 

Business owners in downtown Davis as well as here in Manteca interact with homeless people on a daily basis, they too are seeking solutions to their homelessness.  The chorus of their local business owners is growing louder with Davis residents wanting to see more control over the homeless.  Downtown business owners, like those in Manteca, have been encountering problems such as sidewalks being blocked by homeless people, sitting or lying down during the day and their belongings being left outside empty store fronts.  

Davis shop customers – like many in Manteca – continue to express fears about going downtown with some even cutting their visits to the business district.  Davis Police and Manteca Police as well have worked diligently to clear the downtown areas, Manteca through the efforts of Officer Mike Kelly have managed to get many of the homeless off the streets. 

In light of current issues in Davis, the chamber of commerce in that city launched a “walk-about” with community leaders walking past several sites where homeless individuals were seen frequenting.  Davis Police have cleared people from downtown spots through repeated notices and foot patrols, their chief reported. 

In Lodi there have also been concerns about their homeless community after three years of concentrated efforts by two volunteer organizations – the Lodi Committee on Homelessness and Take Back Lodi that have turned the city into a role model for cities across the country, San Joaquin County Supervisor Chuck Winn noted.  At the federal level, members of Congress and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are pointing to Lodi as an example of success. 

In Tracy a coalition of citizens was formed a year ago.

Tracy Council member Rhodesia Ransom referred to the group as the Tracy Homelessness Task Force, saying “We have really gone into the weeds with what is going on with homelessness.  It’s a growing issue. It’s not just in Tracy, it’s everywhere.  There’s a humanitarian issue.  There’s a public safety issue and a public health issue when it comes to homelessness.” 

Diana Milligan, who lives in north Tracy near I-205, was quoted as saying the homeless issue is literally in her back yard.  Moving there in 2005 she has watched growing numbers of people set up camps behind her sound wall where they set fires to stay warm and throw away food that attracts rodents.  

She said her pleas have gone with no response from the city, county and Caltrans over the past 15 years so she has just stopped calling. 

For more information call Lt. Schluer at the Community Outreach Unit at 209-456-8210.