Fearing the Worst

Many brace for fallout in city already beset by crime

By Scott Smith, June 24, 2012 12:00 AM

With the city in the clutches of gang warfare and a record number of homicides, Caterina Anguzza, co-owner of the Bigfellows sandwich parlor on Wilson Way, worries what will become of the city and its police force should Stockton declare bankruptcy this week. City officials respond with reassurance. “The average citizen will not see a change,” City Manager Bob Deis said.

Caterina Anguzza admits it wasn’t her proudest moment, brawling with a prostitute who refused to budge from the parking lot of her Wilson Way sandwich parlor, Bigfellows.

She’d run prostitutes off before – countless times. Usually, it took a few stern words. On May 9, a scantily clad 18-year-old she told to move on taunted her. Anguzza, 40, snapped.

She swung open her front door, and the two exchanged punches. Within moments, a police officer pulled up and peeled the women apart.

“I kind of flipped out,” Anguzza said. “Blood running down the side of my mouth. I said, ‘This is not OK.’ “

With Stockton on the brink of bankruptcy, Anguzza worries about what will become of the city and its police force.

When migrant laborers don’t fill a neighboring motel, the prostitutes and pimps from out of town move in. That’s when Anguzza finds herself calling police daily.

Like many residents and business owners, she fears the unknown of bankruptcy.

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