Ripon records drop in burglaries

Ripon police on Thursday announced the number of daytime burglaries in town have dropped 64 percent in the first 10 months the department has used its powered parachute aircraft.

Police officials credit the aircraft with thwarting and deterring burglaries.

The burglary decline is compared with the same time period a year ago.

"Based on comments provided to officers by suspects being contacted, I believe that the aviation program has been a great deterrent in helping keep the criminal element out of our city," said police Lt. Ed Ormonde in a news release.

He said the powered parachute has been conducting neighborhood patrols in areas experiencing daytime burglaries.

On several occasions, Ormonde said the powered parachute pilots have been able to quickly find suspicious people and relay the information to officers on the ground.

The aircraft has also been used in rescues of wayward rafters along the Stanislaus River, provided aerial security for public events and been used to photograph crime scenes and traffic accidents from above.