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Weekend crime a sad commentary
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The following is a slightly modified "end-of-the-shift" report prepared by the Ceres Police Department watch commander. Most police agencies prepare similar reports at the end of each patrol shift for the purpose of sharing information with the oncoming patrol shifts and for police managers to make various decisions about staffing, investigations, etc.

This particular end-of-the-shift summary for May 2, in my view, says it all. It is a sad commentary on what has happened to the communities in this area:

"It was busy all throughout the county last night with several shootings. We wrote 10 police reports and responded to countless parties and other calls for service. I had to hold over officers from previous shifts to assist us throughout the night. Street Crimes Unit officers and Officer Perez held over to assist, but we were still short-handed. Perez just left and will be back to work the Street Fair a few hours later than scheduled (about 1400 hours).

"The Sheriff's Office had a 'rolling shooting' in the area of Alamo and Pecos. They called for additional help from us. We sent them six officers. The crime scene was described as half-mile by half-mile in size. One of the subjects was shot in his car, which crashed and caught on fire.

"Modesto had multiple shootings with several people shot, however I'm not sure of their status.

"CHP had a traffic collision on northbound Highway 99, between Whitmore and Hatch Road. The traffic collision involved two big rigs causing all lanes to be blocked. One of the trucks was carrying beehives full of bees. Caltrans and CHP are still trying to clean up the mess.

"At 2357 hours, patrol responded with the Street Crimes Unit to 2312 Glasgow for a subject in the backyard of the residence, wearing a bandana over his face, trying to get into the house. The suspects left the yard prior to our arrival, but the Street Crimes Unit found them nearby. The suspects had a detailed map of other houses to burglarize along with victims' names, addresses, phone numbers and times that the victims are not home. Officer Garcia handled the report and will forward it to Detectives. This is a juvenile in-custody and will be completed before she goes home.

"At 0142 hours, Officer Vera and I went to the area of Belva for a possible shots fired call. We could not find any bullet casings in the street or a bullet inside the residence. We classified it as vandalism unless something else turns up. Whatever hit the upstairs window had to have come from the area of Hackett and Blaker or the backyard of one of the surrounding residences.

"At 0259 hours, Officer Moore responded to the 3100 block of Fowler for an armed robbery case. The female victim said an HMA with long hair, wearing a red shirt, white hat, and black pants pulled a Glock 9mm handgun on her and said, 'give me all your s---.' She said he had his gun cocked. He took her purse and told her to run the other way.

"At 0230 hours, Officer Yandell was working as part of a special enforcement team. They conducted a car stop on 9th at J streets in Modesto. One of the passengers was out of control and was eventually placed under arrest for being drunk in public. When the officers went to cuff him, he began to struggle and the use of the Taser was required to subdue him. He was booked at County Jail. His wife called to complain later.

"At 0342 hours, we received a call of shots fired in the area of Don Pedro Park. Officers responded to the area and were flagged down by victims stating that they had been shot at. They said that several subjects had arrived at their party who were not invited. It looks like they got into a fight in the street with numerous beer bottles thrown. As the subjects were leaving, a suspect stood out of the sun roof of a vehicle and fired three to five shots back at the subjects still standing in the street. The bullets hit three cars and one fifth-wheel trailer. Detectives were called and took over the investigation. Detectives will be conducting the follow-up."

The above summary does not necessarily reflect an average evening in Stanislaus County. Many days come and go with fewer shootings, fights, drunks, and the like. But this particular summary does not represent the worst either. We see nights with even more violence and carnage, and the violence in our community seems to increase with the passing of each year. These days, the police anticipate a lot of violence during most all holidays and three-day weekends, and we increase the number of officers accordingly during those times.

Sadly, what the police do is purely reactive. We react to elements of the community who are absolutely disrespectful of the law, human life and the community itself. They will shoot to kill for virtually nothing more than being angry over some petty matter. They loot, vandalize, manufacture/distribute drugs to our young people, fight among each other and seem to shoot at will.

I worry about our future. The children growing up now will face unprecedented dangers and violence, and while we can keep adding police to combat the combatants, the real solution lies within society itself. Once society says "enough is enough," and takes the steps to reverse this destructive trend, then change will come. What these steps are, most people already know, but too few of us have been willing to stand up for what is right, raising our kids with proper values, teaching them to respect authority and disallow the politicians from selling us out. I will speak to these issues later.