Last week, law enforcement officers from seven agencies across San Joaquin County seized drugs, illegal weapons and stolen goods, and placed nearly 100 criminals behind bars during an operation aimed at cleaning up the streets for the holiday season, authorities said.
This week, many of those arrested are back on the streets.
Operation Safe Holidays, which encompassed more than 100 officers from throughout the county, targeted 150 known criminals last week, most of whom were on probation or parole or wanted for outstanding warrants.
During the two-day mission, officers netted 90 arrests. However, many of those arrested were back on the streets within hours or days.
The Lodi News-Sentinel obtained a list of the 31 people arrested on the first day of the sweeps and cross-referenced those names with the county jail’s inmate database.
Within 24 hours, 18 people were still in custody, 11 had been released and two were juveniles, so their status remained unknown.
On Thursday, one week later, 21 of the 31 known arrestees were no longer in custody.
San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Philip George said “it’s hard to say” whether this mission, which has been conducted for six years, makes a dent in crime in the county.
Last week, a News-Sentinel reporter was allowed to accompany one team, consisting of two California Highway Patrol officers, one officer from the San Joaquin County Probation Department, two parole officers, and three members of the Sheriff’s Office.
The team targeted 11 known criminals in Lodi and the surrounding area over the course of eight hours.
On its first stop, the team arrested a 26-year-old man on suspicion of possessing a small amount of narcotics. He was released from county jail that same day.
Of the 11 targets, seven weren’t home. Officers either had an incorrect address or no one answered the door.
Officers knocked on the door of one apartment for several minutes. The lights were on. The television was on. Officers believed someone was inside. But no one answered the door, so officers were forced to move on to the next location.
Officers searched the homes of three people to ensure that they were complying with the terms of their probation. All three passed the test.
Operation Safe Holidays — which includes members of the Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, the San Joaquin County Probation Department and the Lodi, Stockton, Tracy and Manteca police departments — nets 85 to 100 arrests each year, according to George.
Last year, officers arrested 85 people and seized 25 illegal weapons.
San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Les Garcia said Sheriff’s Department personnel participating in the two-day operation worked their normal shifts, and any overtime was minimal.
Garcia said that it would take the department a few weeks to answer any of the News-Sentinel’s other questions.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at email@example.com.