Manteca Police tracked down a 32-year-old minutes after a citizen made a 911 call saying that she had interrupted someone taking a package off a neighbor’s front porch that had been delivered there a short time before by a FedEx driver.
Within an hour officers were forced to release the suspect without as much as a citation because the resident of the home declined to press charges. The attempted theft occurred shortly after 3 p.m. in the 400 block of Mylnar Avenue by a man police were already familiar with.
He was caught at the corner of Fir Street and Fremont Avenue and detained at that location while officers completed their investigation and returned to the scene to collect a shirt he had allegedly discarded as he ran from the neighbor. When they learned that the homeowner had decided not to press charges, they took off the handcuffs, freeing him without as much as a citation.
The willingness of residents to keep their neighborhood safe from burglars and others who come in the city to steal is critical. Without willingness for crime victims to press charges and cooperate with police, it is setting the stage for the criminal element to become even bolder when it comes to daytime burglaries and even home invasion robberies.
Oftentimes police can be criticized by the public for taking too long to respond to a call for help – more often than not because they are frequently backed up on calls.
In this case the woman neighbor had the courage to interrupt what she saw as a theft. It brought four patrol cars as officers searched nearby streets for the suspect. That pretty much took all the officers off the street leaving other calls unanswered for a period of time – not a good thing.
People may indeed be intimidated by confronting a suspect who puts a level of fear in their hearts at the moment and a concern for having to appear in court to make sure someone who had violated their home space by entering during the night or taking something from their property to make sure they are prosecuted for their crimes.
But the more citizens that hesitate to take action and support the police efforts, the more crime is going to come into Manteca. The police can only do so much – exactly the reason for “Neighborhood Watch” groups throughout the community. When residents won’t step ujp there isn’t much that is going to change the community for the better.
We have some talented and dedicated police officers on the street but they can’t be very effective without the public standing up alongside of them.