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Ripon auto thefts 50% less than in 09
Traffic citations up while crashes dwindle
Ripon officers Alex Burgos and Stephen Meece outline the departments protocol and the past statistics of the police department and their relation to Patrol Area 3 in the southwest quadrant of the city. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Crime is trending down in Ripon.

That’s part of what Ripon Police officers shared on Wednesday during a forum for residents in Area Three at the police department. Police disussed their operations in neighborhoods and businesses west of Wilma Avenue and south of Highway 99.

They announced their “10-13” program, which is code for making sure officers take time to make personal contacts with the residents on their beats.  They are the catalyst to a safe community as the eyes and ears to what is happening on a daily basis, officers said.

Officers Alex Burgos and Stephen Meece presented statistics reflecting crimes in Ripon during the 2012 year that totaled only 857 arrests – 159 felonies and 698 misdemeanors.  State law has reduced marijuana possession to that of an infraction.   Looking at statistics over the past five years, 2007 reported 206 felony arrests and 879 misdemeanors.

“Don’t leave valuables in your cars,” Burgos stressed.  Officers also noted that it is a good practice to have house lights attached to a sensor so that when someone approaches a home in the dark lights go on.

A big issue in city parks involves women parking their vehicles to watch a ball game and stuff their purses under the rear seat.  They are often watched and thieves only have to break a side window on their vehicle to make off with the purse.

“Most thefts are smash events rather than leaving keys in the car,” they added. 

Area Three includes Weston Elementary School and the Stanislaus River access on South Jack Tone Road near the golf course in the 1200 block of that roadway.  Officers said a major drop in crime in the area has resulted from the city’s installation of a parking lot at that location.  There has been a dramatic decrease in complaints, Burgos said.

There were only 19 stolen vehicles in each of the last two years compared to a high of 40 in 2009 when there was a rash of big rig truck thefts.  In the case of aggravated assaults for all of last year there were only seven within the city along with 102 simple assaults reported.

Traffic collisions in the city reached a total of 72 for the 2012 year down from 119 in 2009.  Officer Meece said  most of the crashes were between slow moving vehicles.  He added that there is always a relation between the number of collisions and the number of citations written by officers.

As for the numbers of rapes and robberies since 2009, the police department investigated two rapes in the 2010 and 2011 years and rapes chronicled two in 2009, one in 2011 and one in 2011.

Upcoming events for Ripon citizens include Movie Night in the Park on Friday, prescription drugs take-back on Oct. 26, and Main Street Day Oct. 19.  The Ripon and Menlo Park Police departments will have their annual emergency vehicle display and law enforcement recruiting fair early in October. 

Officers said the “Etch and Catch” program on adding personal identification to catalytic converters that are stolen on a regular basis by thieves.  Les Schwab Tire Center is offering the etching.  When police cannot identify converter ownership  in the possession of a suspect, they are not able to charge a person with theft.