Stockton retiree parks targets of property crimes

7:46 PM, Aug 17, 2012   |    comments
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STOCKTON, CA - Two North Stockton retirement mobile home parks have seen a steady increase in property crimes in the last two months.

Locked sheds have been broken into and tools stolen. RVs have been vandalized and robbed of electronics and alcohol.

"Intruders are coming in and things are coming up missing," said a man checking in on his 84-year-old mother at the Friendly Village mobile home park.

"The other morning, I got up and this guy was on a bicycle scouting around," said Imperial Stockton resident Pete Celestine. "They have no business being in here. There's a lot of old people in here. Everyone in here is old."

Even the park offices have been burglarized.

"Our worker was up on the club house roof and he looks down and there's this kid taking off with the golf cart," said Imperial Stockton park manager Jerry Shelton.

Imperial Stockton and Friendly Villages, both off of West Lane, have reported the incidents to police, providing suspect descriptions or a known time the park gets hit by vandales, but still, police do not respond.

"When you get no response from the police department, people are just throwing their hands up," said Friendly Villages park manager Ron Holden.

Stockton police announced months ago that officers can no longer respond to property crimes because the force is overwhelmed with violent crimes.

Both parks are looking for ideas to keep residents safe and criminals out. Friendly Village Park is in the process of installing a gate, but Imperial Stockton next door says "good luck." with that. It has one, but it hasn't done much good against stopping criminalsthieves and vandals.

"It's more of a traffic control than it is security," said Shelton, who plans on installing video cameras at the gate and club house.

Even barbed wire isn't much of a deterrent. Renters and property managers have witnessed people drape something over the wire and then just hop over the fence. Managers are looking into whether they are allowed to install razor wire.

"These are senior people. They've lived their lives and want to retire with some peace and some security and some safety," said Holden.

Both parks are looking into hiring private armed security, but the cost in hiring a firm may force an increase in property rentals.


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