Manteca residents and businesses took advantage of a rarity among municipal services — free shredding of sensitive documents that can be used by identity thieves — for the 30th time in 15 years as they filled more than four large Shred It trucks on Saturday.
A record 650 plus vehicles dropped off boxes and bags of documents at the Wetmore Street Solid Waste yard. The amount of e-waste recycled also hit a new mark as more than three bins were filled.
The successful Manteca endeavor was monitored for the first hour by City of Stockton representatives who are considering a similar offering for their residents. Solid Waste Superintendent Rexie LeStrange said 200 vehicles passed through the line in the first hour.
“We’re not aware of any other city that offers free shredding days for their residents,” LeStrange said. “The ones that do charge $5 a box and they don’t get nearly as big of a turnout.”
The endeavor was launched 15 years ago as a crime prevention measure by the Manteca Police Department working in concert with the Solid Waste Division.
Detectives noted a growing number of ID theft cases involved suspects who had bought trash bags of pilloried information gleaned from blue recycling carts set out for collection. Documents such as cancelled checks, billing statements, old tax forms, and even magazine labels and other mail that simply has a name and an address were being used to steal identities.
Paperwork stolen from blue carts still plays a significant role in ID theft today as does the stealing of mail. Police earlier this year said criminals often pay $25 for a bag of such material making household and business documents that are tossed potential source of money for drug users and unscrupulous homeless people who rifle through carts and dumpsters.
Once carts with recyclables are placed on the street for collection they are the property of the city and stealing items is a crime. However, it’s a law extremely hard to enforce which is why police came up with the free shred-it event. The first one was conducted on a National Night Out in conjunction with the Manteca Chamber of Commerce’s weekly farmers’ market at Library Park.
The costs for staging the Shred It events are covered by solid waste fees paid each month by residents and businesses.
LeStrange noted the city has other free recycling services available.
uElectronic waste such as TVs, computers, printers, microwaves, phones and such can be dropped off Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Solid Waste Division office on Wetmore Street across from the water tower.
uMedical sharps as well as used batteries are also accepted at the Solid Waste Division office.
Used light bulbs can be taken to the Manteca Home Depot store.
As for unwanted or expired medication, if you are unable to take them to the police department’s scheduled collections, LeStrange noted there is another safe way of disposing of them.
She said take a zip lock plastic bag, empty pills into the bag, pour in either milk or kitty litter, then smash the contents until it turns into a paste.
The zip lock bag of paste can then be tossed into the garbage.
It is illegal to flush prescriptions and over the counter drugs down the toilet or simply throw them into a garbage can.
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