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Secure place: River Islands will have just 4 access points

River Islands could arguably become the least likely area in San Joaquin County to become a victim of a burglary or vehicle theft.

That’s because at build-out the 11,000-home planned community being literally developed on an island at the extreme southeast corner of the Delta that’s part of Lathrop will have only four entrances that will all require crossing a bridge that will have license plate readers designed to instantaneously identify  cars that are stolen or are wanted in connection with criminal activity and alert Lathrop Police Services within seconds of their passing readers.

A large number of crimes — especially burglaries and vehicle theft — are committed by people  using either stolen cars or stolen plates.

And if surveillance cameras are eventually deployed on major  thoroughfares within the development police would be able to track the movements of flagged vehicles as they respond.

The effectiveness of license plate readers are enhanced significantly by the limited access points to Stewart Tract where River Islands is being developed.

Currently there are two access points — one across the San Joaquin River via River Islands Parkway’s Bradshaw Crossing  that connects with the Mossdale area of Lathrop and via Stewart Road crossing the railroad tracks from Manthey Road. The Stewart Road access is only temporarily and will be closed when additional Caltrans mandated freeway access is put in place.

Ultimately there will be a new interchange on Interstate20 5 to the east of Yellow Freight’s Tracy terminal that will provide access to River Islands via a future crossing of Paradise Cut. A second bridge will be built across the San Joaquin River east of Bradshaw Crossing and west of the train bridge to access the envisioned business park. A fourth bridge that will cross Paradise Cut on the western end of the development will ultimately connect with MacArthur Drive in Tracy.

Ripon has been able to use its surveillance cameras fairly effectively given the Stanislaus River blocks access to the community from the south and there are only two major freeway exits with an additional northbound off-ramp between them on Highway 99. If you include other access points to Ripon from rural roads such as West Ripon, North Ripon, River, Frontage and several other roads there are nine ways to enter and exit Ripon by car.

By comparison Manteca that will be adding license plate readers and cameras at strategic locations in the coming months is practically a sieve. There are six freeway interchange access points with a seventh to be added within the next few years. There are  four roads from the west, a highway and three roads from the east, five roads from the north, and seven roads from the south for no less than 26 ways to get to Manteca arterials or neighborhood streets from two freeways, a highway, and county road.

The new Lathrop Police Services headquarters will also be built just of River Islands Parkway as you enter the development crossing the river via River Island Parkway.

Also working in favor of River Islands being pro-active in preventing crime are two “community event” organizing positions that currently set up everything from farmers markets, holiday celebrations, and movies in the park to yoga groups and other special interest gatherings to bring neighbors together.

Those coordinators are a perfect conduit for the Lathrop Police Services to form Neighborhood Watch Groups. Those positions will continue to be supported through  home assessments after all homes are built.

There are now 1,000 homes occupied in River Islands reflecting a population approaching 4,000 people.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email