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Spend more time in front yard to help fight crime
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Rex Osborn answers questions from those attending the Neighborhood Watch meeting in the 400 block of Mylnar Avenue on Tuesday. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin

The Manteca Police Department website is one of the resources available to make for a safer neighborhood.

The other part of the equation involves people.

“It’s important to be good neighbors,” said Rex Osborn on Tuesday as he met with a dozen or so homeowners of the Neighborhood Watch program in the 400 block of Mylnar Avenue.

The public affairs officer later added: “Spend more time in your front yard rather than your backyard.”

Keith Jackson, who helped organize the event, said he and his neighbors have maintained that practice.

“We’re always out here sort of like ‘King of the Hill,’” he said.

With National Night Out about two weeks away, Osborn indicated that it’s not too common to meet with Neighborhood Watch come this time of the year.

But he made an exception for Jackson and his group.

“The old system of Neighborhood Watch involved watching over your neighbor’s house while they were away on vacation,” Osborn said. “Now it’s about getting to know your neighbors.”

He encouraged the group to use the website to help police.

For starters, the neighbors can fill out an alarm permit necessary since July 1.

“We no longer go out on house alarms – most turned out to be false alarms. The permits are free,” said Osborn, who noted that a homeowner could get fined without an alarm permit. Incidentally, forms can be downloaded from the website.

 With help from Linda Silva, who handles the police’s crime analysis, he also provided instructions on using the online crime map.

Information included calls for service during the past year, with the data also providing reports of suspicious activities and crimes within a 400-foot radius from within any place in the Manteca city limits.

“We had 20 calls from this area since the first of the year,” Osborn said. “That’s nothing (when compared to other parts of the city).”

Citizens can also file reports online of those vandalism or thefts fitting the police criteria.

In addition, the website has a government outreach for folks to report abandon vehicles or non-operating street lights.

“In these tough economically challenging times that have seen layoffs of our public safety employees, we want to step up and help with protecting ‘our piece of the earth,’” said Jackson.

Located near Shasta Park / Shasta School, he considers this area of Manteca as unique.

“Five of the original owners have been here since the early 1960s. Four have lived here for 10 years or more, two for five years, and a rental is owned by the Neil Hafley family,” Jackson said.

The city currently has 200 Neighborhood Watch Groups in various stages of activity from dormant to being extremely involved. Information on Neighborhood Watch will be available at the community-wide National Night Out Party planned for Sunday, Aug. 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Library Park.

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail