Throughout Riverbank authorities have expressed a concern in a recent rise in door-kick burglaries as well as mail thefts. These incidents are not specific to any particular neighborhood in Riverbank, police said, but have been occurring in many areas of the community.
These incidents have occurred during the day while people are at work or away from their homes. Criminals will attempt to get through the front door by kicking it open. Suspects have also gained access to a home by going to the back door so they are not seen.
Police said this type of crime has occurred in other areas as well like a door-kicking burglary ring in Florida or the neighborhoods that were hit in Bakersfield in southern California. Mail thefts are also happening around Riverbank and authorities are asking residents to report any suspicious activities. Officials would like community members to be vigilant and report any suspicious persons that may be in the neighborhood or a suspicious incident.
A possible deterrent to protect your home is a heavy duty security screen, advised Detective Jon Gingerich. Home surveillance cameras can also be effective in solving crimes. There is a person of interest in the door-kick burglaries who was described by police as a Hispanic male in his 20s that has a shaved head, about five feet, eight inches tall and heavy set.
If anyone has any information or leads on the suspect call Riverbank Police Services at 209-863-7146.
Writing down observations and details like a license plate number can assist law enforcement in preventing crimes or making the arrests necessary to keep neighborhoods safe, Gingerich added.
Meanwhile, addressing the Riverbank City Council at a recent session, Riverbank Police Services Chief Erin Kiely updated council members about its use of Nextdoor.com, which is a free, secure portal that allows for agencies, residents and neighborhoods to communicate with each other at their convenience.
He said more than 400 U.S. cities, including large metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Jose, have partnered with Nextdoor.com to improve communications between government and those they serve.
Kiely said Nextdoor.com helps to “facilitate the exchange of information” and can be customized by the end user to filter and manage the flow of information and to select a particular audience, such as resident to resident, resident to neighborhood, neighborhood to neighborhood, agency to neighborhood, etc.
He told the council that Riverbank Police Services plans to use Nextdoor.com to “inform residents about neighborhood crime trends or issues” and help solve cases by identifying suspects, vehicles, recovered property, etc.; advise residents on how to access recent crime statistics in their neighborhood/city; correct misinformation; increase participation at community meetings, conferences and workshops.
He said police could broadcast emergency alerts and crime prevention tips, as well as facilitate and encourage communication among police and residents with the ultimate goal of more efficient, citywide crime prevention, detection and ultimately reduction.
The chief pointed out that several individuals and Neighborhood Watch groups in Riverbank are already participating in the program.
News correspondent Ric McGinnis contributed to this article.