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We need to help Manteca Police fight gangs
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
In the recent past there have been articles and letters regarding gang activity in Manteca.  Here is my perspective on the issue.

I was born and raised here and moved to Northern California in 1992.  At that time there was some gang activity which is not surprising when you consider some folks were already moving here to get away from the gangs in the Bay Area and Southern California.  Unfortunately, just as in the 1940s when families sent their young men to Stockton to avoid the Zoot Suit types in L.A., this just meant these kids brought the gang life style with them.  I was amazed when I started looking for a house to buy here in the town where both my parents were born and raised and where they raised my siblings and me.  The first thing I had to check on when I found a suitable house was whether it was located in a “gang” area.  What a shock to learn there were so many neighborhoods experiencing problems which are gang related.

In my opinion if the two former police chiefs had acted back in the 1980s and 1990s, Manteca may not have had so many gang types moving here.  The now retired police chief of Redding was a visionary who knew that being on the Interstate 5 corridor meant the gangs would eventually be moving in.  He set up a special unit to prevent this from happening.  They dealt swiftly and came down hard on any known gang members.  This unit responded to all calls regarding graffiti.  The response was rapid; the graffiti was photographed and documented before being removed.  He had to fight the powers that be who held the purse strings but finally convinced them that a gang problem was inevitable. Thank goodness for his ability to think ahead and develop new and more effective ways of dealing with gangs.  The one good action Manteca police have taken is the eradication of graffiti as quickly as possible.  A big thanks goes out to the citizens assisting police in Manteca to wipe out the graffiti.

Another thanks goes out to Chief Dave Bricker who seems to be more in touch with gangs and how they operate.  Rousting them at any opportunity may not wipe the gangs out but it does make Manteca a less desirable place for them to settle.  Thanks also to the good citizens who report possible gang activity.  Citizens need to be proactive and now that the Manteca Police Department is taking a more aggressive stance we can all hope gang members will be reluctant to move here.

Thanks also to the Bulletin for printing the stories of the raids and arrests of these parasites on society. Manteca citizens and police, keep up the good work.
 Sharmaine Mendes
Sept. 23, 2009