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The drug house in my neighborhood
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Why do you need to be part of Manteca’s homeless solution?

The answer can be found across the street and two doors down from where I live.

Manteca Police a few months ago busted a drug operation in a rented home. They seized 20 pounds of meth

In retrospect, I did note a flurry of activity there that should have  prompted me to contact the police department to make them aware of suspicious activity. But because there were often a bunch of kids playing out front giving the appearance they were just family and friends visiting I never gave it a second  thought.

It wasn’t quite as obvious as with another drug house years ago where they had more early morning visitors than a typical 7-Eleven store does between midnight and 5 a.m.

Before I continue, I need to make it clear. I do not live in a crime ridden neighborhood. Powers Tract, when compared to other neighborhoods on the police department’s website crime activity map, is fairly quiet. There are newer neighborhoods that have had massive marijuana grows inside homes, drive-by shootings and violent felonies that make the meth bust pale in comparison.

Also, Manteca’s violent crime rate is below California’s with 3.85 incidents per 1,000 compared to 4.23 per 1,000 for the state. Property crimes are higher at 38.69 per 1,000 compared to 27.89 per 1,000 for California.

Crime rates nationally, in California, and in Manteca have been falling. That said, no crime should be acceptable.

That’s where you and I come into play.

Manteca has 65 sworn officers for 72,000 residents.

They are not robocops. They must follow the law, evidence gathering procedures and protocol while investigating crimes while at the same time responding to calls, handling emergencies, serving warrants, and try to keep us from killing and injuring ourselves by enforcing traffic laws.

If you want a safe community, you have to be part of the solution.

Among other things that means:

uNot leaving anything that remotely looks like it could be of value in clear view in your vehicle.

uIf you have guns, keep them locked up. Study after study shows the vast majority of guns used to commit crimes are stolen.

uDon’t leave your garage door up to allow criminals to case your belongings.

uMake your house look as if it is occupied plus keep an eye out for your neighbor.

uReport suspicious activity to the police.

uDon’t help the homeless by giving money to panhandlers. Donate your money instead to organizations that help the homeless in a structured manner.

A lot of the property crime in Manteca is committed by the homeless trying to survive. They are attracted to Manteca because of our generosity and willingness to give money and sometimes food to panhandlers. That has simply prompted them to stay and live here.

It is becoming more common for things such as umbrellas, chairs, and other stuff including recyclables to be swiped out of yards — both front and back — and end up at homeless encampments.

That brings me back to the meth house that was in my neighborhood.

I would much rather have police direct limited resources to keeping the pressure on gangs, going after drug operatives, and putting those guilty of violent crimes behind bars.

At the same time I don’t want Manteca to turn into a dive or have a swarm of low-level criminals — read that homeless and druggies — destroying the quality of life.

I’m also not wild about having taxes increased.

So how do we fight crime, address quality of life issues created by the homeless and do so without having to raise taxes to secure more resources?

The answer is simple. We all need to step up.

Don’t give money to panhandlers. Support programs that help prevent kids from going down the wrong path and that helps them to succeed such as the Boys & Girls Club, Give Every Child a Chance, the FUN Club, Scouting, sports programs, and more.

Become the eyes for your neighborhood. Fire off reports of suspicious activity to the police. If it’s an immediate emergency, call 9-1-1. If it is a tip of suspicious activity, call dispatch at 456.8100. If it is something that can be reported online go to .

Be practical and be patient. Reality isn’t Law & Order. It takes time to check out  tips on possible drug houses. They also have to build probable cause. That’s what they did in my neighborhood where other residents were aware of something wrong and had been calling in tips for months.  Police have to follow the law and when they do make an arrest you want it to stick so the criminals get the maximum sentence

Regardless of whom you vote for on Nov, 4, whoever is elected can’t save us. In fact, they can’t be effective at much of anything if we don’t step up as Manteca residents.

We can moan and groan all we want but at the end of the day it’s our city.

We live here. We work here. We play here. And in many cases we have invested here whether it is in a home or business.

Let’s tackle the homeless issues together and  then build momentum to chip away at drug houses and gangs.

The homeless, drugs, and gangs won’t go away but the community does have a big role in keeping them in  check and reducing their impact.

It is true. A community has as much crime as it is willing to tolerate.

That doesn’t mean simply hiring police. It means taking an active role in reducing the conditions that allow crime to flourish and to stay vigilant and work with police.The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209.249.3519.w