Manteca sees slight decrease in crime in 2018
The majority of crimes committed in Manteca saw a slight decrease in 2018, but what Police Chief Jodie Estarziau is most proud of is that there were no homicides last year.
It was the fifth year since 1985 that the Manteca Police Department did not investigate any murders. There were five homicides in 2017.
“It would (be) nice to say this was a contribution to the additional proactive approach to crime reduction made by our gang and street crimes unit,” she said. “But you never know what the circumstances of a homicide could be. A homicide could be a domestic violence incident. We just can’t predict the causes, or in what areas of a city crimes like this may occur.”
The Manteca Police Department in recent years merged its Gang and Street Crimes units due to budget decreases, but Estarziau said the downsizing did not diminish the department’s efforts to fight crime.
Along with the decrease in homicides, Esatrziau said she was pleased there were decreases in aggravated assaults, residential burglaries and auto burglaries.
The department’s yearto-date statistics on its webpage are only current through November, and December stats with updated annual totals should be online in the coming days, she said.
But through November, residential burglaries were down from 161 in 2017 to 150 in 2018, and auto burglaries were down from 468 in 2017 to 430 in 2018.
November’s numbers indicate aggravated assaults were up from 100 in 2017 to 110 last year, but Estarziau said the annual totals will reflect the decrease in those incidents.
One area of concern for her, however, was the increase in commercial burglaries. In 2017, police responded to 96 incidents through November, and by November of 2018 they responded to 147.
Grand thefts and vehicle thefts also saw large increases, with the former rising from 125 to 168, and the latter seeing a surge from 294 to 334.
Historically, the department has seen increases in those types of crimes
sporadically, Estarziau said. Since 1985, there were spikes in the 1990s and early 2000s, she said.
“Crime rates go up and down, depending on how the economy is going,” she said. “Right now, it’s an employee’s market. When people are working, they can pay bills and afford things to get by. But when they aren’t working, it makes things difficult, and some people turn to unfortunate avenues to get by.”
Estarziau said the addition of a new crime analyst could better help the department keep thefts and burglaries down.
“We are looking at those kinds of crimes and trying to determine a pattern of where they are occurring and why,” she said. “But, right now, we have no crime analyst to take that task on full-time, so everyone in the department is sort of trying to do that here and there.”
The department lost its crime analyst to the recession in 2007. The position was merged with records, Estarziau said, but since that time the department has not been able to completely break down patterns and trends.
She said she is planning to ask the Manteca City Council to reinstate the position as part of the 2019-20 budget, along with an additional position in the investigations unit, and a short-term patrol investigation position.
The department is budgeted for 73 sworn officers, and there are currently three vacancies, she said.
“We run a little lean compared to other cities with a population of 81,000 ( people),” she said. “But I’d like to beef up our patrols and add personnel. And we do have officers in training that, hopefully, we can use one day.”
Looking to 2019, Estarziau said new technologies recently acquired by the department also will contribute to keeping
IT WAS THE FIFTH YEAR SINCE 1985 THAT THE MANTECA POLICE DEPARTMENT DID NOT INVESTIGATE ANY MURDERS.
crimes at a minimum.
Those technologies include a city-wide surveillance camera system that boasts some 32 lenses installed at various locations aimed at improving public safety.
In addition, the department acquired a license plate recognition camera system that will allow officers to better recover stolen cars and locate autos associated with kidnappings, missing persons and other vehiclerelated crimes.
“Policing is challenging,” she said. “But we’ve built a really good relationship with the community.
“Through our partnerships with businesses and residents, we’ve been able to build a trust and solve crimes together.”