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Woman robbed at knifepoint in Palo Alto

Original post made on Jun 20, 2008

A woman was robbed by a man who threatened her with a knife at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the 700 block of Kellogg Avenue in Palo Alto near Lucie Stern Community Center, according to Police Sgt. Sandra Brown.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 20, 2008, 10:53 AM

Comments (12)

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Posted by Don G.
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 20, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I would think reporting these crimes would make us all more aware so that we can possibly avoid becoming a victim, and/or keep our eyes out for each other like a "community" is supposed to be. I am grateful for this article because I live in that neighborhood and I want to be watchful, protect my family and neighbors and hopefully stop these scumbags by reporting suspicious activity.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 20, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Let's see, over the past year or so: Woman robbed at knifepoint in the middle of the afternoon in the center of town. Man carjacked at gunpoint in his driveway on Tennyson Avenue. Pedestrian beaten and hospitalized on Oregon Avenue walking home. Teenager-employees of Midtown Baskin-Robbins robbed by gunmen before closing. Numerous hold-ups of gas stations and grocery stores. Etc. etc.

What's our Council's response to this failure of the primary responsibility of local government: assuring the safety of the city's residents? Why they pass a resolution condemning repression in Burma of course.

We get the government we deserve for electing these blowhards who care more about Global Warming than they do local robberies of unprotected citizens.


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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2008 at 4:32 pm

I'm thinking of buying a gun for protection. Things are getting pretty scary.

Does anyone know how difficult it is to get a permit to carry a gun in Palo Alto?

I lived in Texas and it was pretty easy to get one there: I think they are required to give you a permit if you aren't a criminal. Funny, but I never felt I needed one there: we never had these crazy brazen daylight crimes in residential neighborhoods...here, I'm starting to feel like I'd be safer if I had a way to fight back...though it feels a little icky to say so.


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Posted by Barry
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Oh yeah, Texas, that bastion of progress and intelligence. That's exactly what we need- Texas-longing-transplants carrying guns. It seems like all the gun carrying residents of Texas hadn't managed to keep it from being one of the most crime ridden states in the country. Guess what, Palo Alto is a wealthy community and will always be a target for this type of crime. We to hire more cops so they can patrol our streets, but of course we can't afford to hire more cops because of the budget constrains due to the tax cuts for the very wealthy, AKA Bushenomics. The last thing we need is gun-totting residents shooting it out with criminals, hitting innocent bystanders and the guns ending up in the criminal's possession or the criminal. Of course, the criminals, aware that residents started to carry guns, would murder the victim before robbing her.


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Posted by Jarred
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Wow Barry, I'm surprised you forgot to mention Iraq, declining polar bear populations, and the vast right wing conspiracy among your causes for crime in Palo Alto. You need to renew your subscription to The Nation and spend more time with your fellow smug lefty whiners on dailykos.

As for guns and Texas, as you may know, Bush signed a law allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons in 1995. Per your analysis, this must have led to a plethora of innocent citizens dying in a blaze of public gunfire. Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, here's what actually happened:

Web Link

"In the early 1990s, Texas' serious crime rate was 38 percent above the national average. Since then serious crime in Texas has dropped 50 percent faster than for the nation as a whole. For example, during the 1990s Texas' murder rate dropped 52 percent compared to 33 percent nationally, and the rape rate fell by 22 percent compared to 16 percent nationally. In light of Lott's research, it is likely that Texas' concealed carry law has contributed to the declining crime rates.

Both John B. Holmes, Harris County district attorney, and Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association, initially opposed concealed carry in Texas but have subsequently embraced it. Holmes said, "I . . . [felt] that such legislation . . . present[ed] a clear and present danger to law-abiding citizens by placing more handguns on our streets. Boy was I wrong. Our experience in Harris County, and indeed statewide, has proven my initial fears absolutely groundless." And White said, "All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn't happen. . . . I think it's worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I'm a convert." The evidence indicates that concealed carry is a vital tool in the fight against violent crime."

Here is an explanation using only small words. Try reading it. If you need to, go slowly and you can move your lips as your read if it helps.

"When criminals suspect that the costs of committing a crime will be too high, they are less likely to commit it. The possibility of a concealed weapon tilts the odds in favor of the potential victim. Studies have shown that rape victims who resist with a gun are only half as likely to be injured as those who do not resist."


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Posted by carioca
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 22, 2008 at 9:18 am

Once criminals become aware that their intended victim might carry a concealed weapon, they would sneak up on her from behind and most likely kill her before taking her purse. Instead of losing just her purse, she would be more likely to lose her life. Can't you just see a 70 year old woman fumbling in her purse for her concealed gun while the criminal patiently waits for her to find it? We have had Texas logic rule our country in the last 7.5 years and we know how well that worked out. Texas is a medieval state, let them do their own thing, as far away from us as can be(still not far enough).


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Posted by Jarred
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Good point carioca--once criminals understand that a potential victim has a deterrent of any sort, the criminal will immediately escalate the level of violence, regardless of any additional risk to the criminal, since criminals have no self-interest and are completely irrational. That's why if you should never lock the door to your house--criminals will simply use bulldozers to force their way in.

Enlightened people like carioca understand that one should never take any precautions or responsibility for self-defense. Leave it to the nanny state to protect you and ensure all aspects of your well-being. If only we had enough public funding, police could be at all places at all times, and prevent all crimes. Though there might not be any crimes left to prevent, since a sufficiently well-funded government could simply make all people happy, and thus render us incapable of evil. If only libertarians could be made to understand this basic logic.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2008 at 4:22 pm

An unlocked house or open window is a simple aid to criminals. An opportunist criminal will see the invitation and help themselves. Likewise an old lady carrying what looks like a money bag will also be a target. Smart people lock their houses and close their windows when they go out and smart old ladies carry their valuables (if they are carrying any) out of view of any passerby.

An opportunist criminal looks for easy targets where they expect to get results. They won't go for a target that looks as if there is nothing of interest there. The only time a criminal will bulldoze a house is if he knows that there is something of real value there and the same with someone walking around minding their own business.

But, there are sick individuals out there that get their kicks from attacking individuals for a couple of dollars. These people are sick and need to be dealt with appropriately. Homelessness and drug addiction are possible reasons for this sickness along with mental illness. The only way to prevent more of this is through prevention methods and more policing. Not, by a gun carrying citizenry.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 22, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Jarred - Thanks for the thoughtful post. I agree. Every citizen who takes the required training and has not been convicted any any crime, should be able to carry a concealed weapon.

I do not agree with those on this post who think that if a resident is carrying a concealed weapon, it would somehow cause a criminal to become more violent. Tell that to the man who was beaten to death a few blocks from the police station just a few years back while his wife and two young daughters were waiting for him to come home. He was out for an early evening stroll when a bunch of thugs from EPA decided to kill him. If he had a gun on him, he would have had a chance of making it home to see his family again. I don't want anyone to tell me that I don't have the right to defend myself against a criminal and who's to say whether this time the criminal is going to be a "nice criminal". I don't want to take that chance. I think guns are a deterrent to criminals. Good for Texas.


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Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 23, 2008 at 12:53 am

Oh brother...Kate. Have to reply to your seemingly lack of street smarts. If the jogging man was carrying a gun that night, (#1) the possibilty stands that he would have been "rat packed",(#2) the gun taken from him and(#3) shot dead quicker than from the beating he received. That would more than likely have had happen....Poor guy. He didn't have a chance, one way or the other.
The people responsible for his death were out for a thrill, being macho, like a pack of wild animals, not probably thinking the possibility of premeditating a murder. They set his body back up on the bench after beating him. Something they probably would not have done if they found a concealed gun on him. No money, just the gun. Who knows then how the "thugs" would have acted...??? We could possibly of had an old wild west shoot out all over the downtown...after all, the bad guys would have had the loaded gun.......
Unfortunately, there are those who are in need of better education and strong morals. This is something that is lacking in our society for so many younger children in most school districts. I believe that our schools are failing, that there are too many young minds going to waste as they are not getting the correct education that they deserve. AND that we ~as a civilized society~ should be involved in seeing to it that the drop out rates become nil. Teachers are overworked, and that is contrubuting to a lack of observation of those who need their special help~ before it is too late..............


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2008 at 10:32 am

The simple fact is that criminals go for the easiest prey, just like in the African wild, most often the big cat goes for the little bambi least able to defend itself. So what does bambi do in Palo Alto? Allowing one to carry a gun in public would not be a deterrent, because of the randomness of street crime, one simply does not have time to reach for a gun, release the safety and fire, when approached from behind by a knife-weilding assailant. The best deterrent is awareness and vigilance. Don't carry a big purse. Don't walk alone. Put 911 on your cell phone speed dial. If accosted, don't resist, and give the thief anything they want, unless physically threatened.

However, I do believe guns would be a deterrent in home invasion crimes, because the criminal would be less likely to attempt this, if there were a likelihood of a violent response.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2008 at 12:34 am

Criminals are lazy dirtbags. That is why they are criminals. They go for the easy score. They do not like risk. Repeat, they are lazy dirtbags. As a former cop, I promise you that is the truth. In states that have changed their laws to allow law abiding citizens to get thorough background checks and take handgun training, the rate of crime again people drops, and the rate of crime against property goes up. The rate of crime against people in adjoining states that do not allow concealed carry goes up about 25% of the decline in the jurisdiction where there are armed citizens. Remember, criminals are lazy dirtbags that do not want to get killed over a mugging or purse snatching. They will move on or change their type of crime. There ahve been no old west shoot outs. An armed society is a polite society. Anyone that is not willing to take some responsibility for their own safety or the safety of their family, is quite simply a sheeple target hoping the bad guys don't pick on him. Nuff said.


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