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NEARLY 50 RESIDENTS of the Weston Ranch neighborhood in Stockton gathered for a community meeting this week to listen as the city’s police force presented them with crime statistics and other information.  

Weston Ranch is the only neighborhood where the meeting is held as frequently as quarterly and in person, per the request of many members in the community, said Officer Ryan Taiariol, lieutenant in charge of strategic operations with the Stockton Police Department.  

The meeting at Weston Ranch Library was held on Valentine’s Day and kickstarted with a celebration in honor of the occasion for families visiting the library with their children. 

“Bringing people out to a meeting on Valentine’s Day can be difficult because they have other plans,” said Zoyla Moreno, a neighborhood watch captain for Weston Ranch. “But it is important to talk about the safety in our neighborhood.” 

Moreno said she has been helping organize the meetings for nearly six years. Moreno added that she had organized the Valentine’s Day celebrations with tacos and music performance by the mariachi band of Stockton’s Edison High School, to incentivize community members to participate in the meeting.  

Crime stats revealed

During the meeting, Community Service Officers Phillip Andeola and Debbie Lopez joined Officer Taiariol, where Officer Lopez presented crime statistics between November 2022 and January 2023.  

The stats revealed numbers for each crime type such as homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, auto burglary, theft and arson. Weston Ranch saw a total of 21 crimes in November — a number that jumped to 38 in December and 37 in January.  

“Bringing people out to a meeting on Valentine’s Day can be difficult because they have other plans. But it is important to talk about the safety in our neighborhood.”

Zoyla Moreno, Weston Ranch resident

Community members also raised other concerns in their neighborhoods such as cannabis smoking on the streets, automobiles doing donuts near housing communities and the possibility of a new cannabis dispensary opening in the neighborhood.  

July Cole, who moved to Weston Ranch from the Bay Area nearly two years ago, attended the community meeting for the first time on Tuesday. Cole works for the city of Berkely and rushed back to French Camp to be able voice her concerns.  

Leon Coffey, a resident of Weston Ranch, makes his comment during a community meeting with Stockton Police at Weston Ranch Library in French Camp on Feb. 14, 2023. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

“I’m part of the homeowners association in my community and the streetlights not working has been a huge concern here.” Cole said. I wanted to speak up to make sure I wasn’t the only one feeling this way about the safety in our neighborhood.” 

The next quarterly community meeting will be held May 9 at 6 p.m. at the Weston Ranch Library located at 1453 W. French Camp Road.  

Harika Maddala is a photojournalist based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. They are a Report for America corps member and a CatchLight Local Fellow.