Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I visited Kmart a few weeks ago, looking for bargains, and couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be before the ‘homeless’ broke into the building, stripped it, and then burned it down.
I think that one solution to the problem of vagrants and vandals destroying property throughout the city would be for the Mayor and City Council to require building and property owners of shuttered businesses to keep the power on, the security systems up and running, and fire suppression systems functioning. They should also be required to hire private security companies to monitor the vacant properties, either remotely or with personnel on the site.
I’m sure that the property owners would disagree, but I think that these are reasonable requirements to impose upon them. Once the buildings are broken into, stripped of the wiring and everything else of value, and then burned, it’s too late. At that point the property becomes a nuisance to the surrounding community. And when the police have to constantly respond to calls regarding the site, it becomes a burden upon the local police and a financial burden to the taxpayers.
It’s time that commercial property owners are held accountable to the communities that they once served. Sears/Kmart made a lot of money from the community over the years, and it should be their responsibility to either maintain the security of their building, or bulldoze it and clear the site before the ‘homeless’ destroy it for them.
The broken windows theory argues that a broken window will make a building look abandoned, and lead to more broken windows and vandalism, which will in turn lead to crime, violence, chaos and other anti-social behavior in the area. Manteca already has enough “broken windows” in the form of burned out, shuttered and destroyed buildings. We don’t need another.
I grew up in Oakland, which was once a nice vibrant city, but by the 70s had, as a result of the actions of addicts, gangs, and criminals, become in the downtown district a burned out, shuttered war zone. That same district is now gentrified and thriving. If Oakland, a city with more problems that 100 Mantecas, can return from the dead, than our town most certainly can, but we have to start somewhere.