Uploaded: Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 11:04 am
Police arrest alleged prowler in Palo Alto
Woman seen entering backyards Thursday
A door-to-door solicitor was arrested this week after she was spotted entering two backyards through unlocked side yard gates, according to Palo Alto police.
The woman was spotted walking in the back yard of a home on the 1200 block of Dana Avenue shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday by a personal trainer working for the home's resident, Lt. Zach Perron said.
When the trainer made eye contact with the woman, she left the back yard. He then contacted her in the front yard and she told him she was offering house cleaning services, and handed him a flyer.
The suspicious trainer then watched the woman, and called police after he saw her enter another backyard on the 1000 block of Lincoln Avenue.
Police detained 19-year-old Crystal Cross of San Jose, and determined that she had spoken to the resident in the home on the 1000 block of Lincoln after entering the backyard through a side gate, Perron said.
The resident said she had knocked on his front door, offered cleaning services and then asked to use his bathroom. She stayed inside the house for about two minutes and then left.
Police arrested Cross and released her with a misdemeanor citation for prowling. While no burglary or theft occurred during these incidents, police are investigating whether Cross is connected with any other incidents, and also looking into the cleaning services she was offering.
Police are reminding residents that it is unlawful for anyone to solicit door-to-door in Palo Alto without a permit, and there is absolutely no reason for a solicitor to enter someone's back yard or try to gain access to a side yard gate.
"That is absolutely an indicator of criminal activity, and something we want to know about immediately," Perron said. "That warrants a 911 call every time."
Police also strongly recommend against allowing strangers into your home for any reason. Thieves commonly ask to use a bathroom or the phone in order to scope out a home for valuables, Perron said.
Anyone with information on this incident should call police at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.
— Bay City News Service
Posted by Phil,
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 3, 2012 at 9:12 am
The Palo Alto PD are equipped with mobile audio/video in their patrol cars. They are one of only a few agencies in the Bay Area that have this capability. This case would be a circumstance that the cameras and recording devices would have been used, unless anyone has a reason to think they wouldn't have been. As for mobile cameras actually being attached to the officers, a few police departments have experimented with the technology but an affordable, mainstream system has yet to be developed. PAPD officers are equipped with personal, mobile microphones that work in conjunction with the cameras in their cars.
A supervisor would typically respond to an arrest type situation to not only oversee the operation and maintain quality control, but also to make specific assignments, determine what follow-up investigation needs to be conducted, and assign any specialty work that needs to be done. Supervisors need to have more first hand knowledge in cases involving an arrest because ultimately they will have to review and approve the final reports that are submitted. In this case, considering the rash of residential burglaries that have taken place, I can definitely see why a supervisor would have heightened interest. If it was determined that this suspect might be involved in this activity, the supervisor might also have to coordinate further investigative efforts with the detective bureau or even outside agencies. These are all possibilities that I would think they would have to consider.
Again, not quite accurate on the topic of audit and review of the police department's policy and procedures. The policy manual is audited and reviewed annually and approved in accordance at the local level, as well as with the State of California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. Outside agencies and legal firms are utilized in establishing and updating their policies. Not sure if the manual is available to view on-line, but we had full access to it through our participation in the Citizen's Academy. I'm curious as to why someone would state emphatically that the police department has never conducted an audit or review when nothing could be further from the truth.
The issue of how many officers are needed to get the job done safely and effectively is open for debate. What I hope for is that the police department has the necessary time, staffing, assets, equipment, and training/expertise to get the job done safely and effectively. A department trying to do more with less may have diminished results in these areas. As far as comparing the demands and expectations of a police department to the private sector, well, let's just say that their task has much more at stake. What job in the private sector compares with police work? Personally, for obvious reasons, I don't want my police department doing more with less. Budget cuts have already eliminated nearly 20% of their work force in the last twenty years. Numerous specialty assignments have been slashed, some that would have been geared toward working crime trends like these recent burglaries we've been having.
On the topic of outsourcing private patrols as a preventative approach, sure, I see some value in that. Any additional eyes and ears on the street is a good thing. Beyond the determent of their mere presence, a security officer does not have the same power to detain and arrest a suspected criminal as a police officer, certainly not in a public place. They do not have the training, preparation, legal knowledge, and tactical knowledge that it takes to provide the optimum results, nor do I want to see our city rely on more security people and less police officers. The minimum staffing levels that the police department operates on is already surprisingly low, and I wouldn't want to see that diminished any further.
I can absolutely agree on the fact that the police alone do not solve crime and keep our communities safe. It is definitely a team effort, whether that be an alert citizen calling in suspicious activity, someone stepping forward and willing to be a witness, or the many advances in technology. All of these things play into success. I'm also grateful and recognize that the police department also has the task of managing all of this information, conducting extensive investigations, and ultimately having to apprehend dangerous criminals is no easy task. Police work isn't conducted and wrapped up within the confines of a one hour episode of your favorite police drama, where unfortunately so many people seem to draw their perception and opinions from. So yes, I truly believe they need to hear the accolades and appreciation, especially considering the amount of unfair and often time uninformed criticism they receive.
In closing, I'm afraid you're not quite accurate again with the suggestion that the police do not recognize citizens and other entities with the contributions they have made in solving crimes, saving lives, and just being good citizens. Over the past several years, I have attended personally at least two occasions when the police department honored citizens who provided invaluable assistance in ceremonies in the council chambers.
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