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Police seek Valentine's Day armed robber

Original post made on Feb 15, 2012

The armed man who allegedly robbed a Palo Alto resident walking a dog Tuesday night was likely responsible for an attempted armed robbery that took place a half hour later in Menlo Park, police said Wednesday. ==B Related story:==
• [Web Link Dog walker robbed near Walter Hays Drive]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 12:39 PM

Comments (66)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 8:42 am

I am totally shocked by this.

A man with a dog should be in the safest category when it comes to being a victim of a crime. The fact that a young criminal chooses a male dogwalker to rob shows desperation of the highest intent.

I ask myself if this is some type of gang initiation because it doesn't really make sense otherwise. I mean, what villain in his right mind chooses an innocent victim with a dog who could attack him?


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Posted by b.e.b.
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2012 at 9:23 am

@Resident: It could've been a chihuahua. :)


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Posted by Art
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

Was the robber white, black, or green?
Was he tall or short?
Was he thin or stocky?

Well .. seems its time for the "buddy system" when going out at night for a walk.



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Posted by anon
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:39 am

time to get out the vigilante committees. or, at least, "citizens' watch". get to know your neighbors, start exchanging emails, start using those smart phones and social networks for personal protection/safety. because this kind of quick-strike stuff is not amenable to police protection.


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Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:47 am

What to take on an after-dark dog walk:

1) Dog

2) Leash

3) Plastic bag

4) House key

The end.


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Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

@Resident: Not everyone has a trained attack dog. I have two dogs and if I turned them lose on a guy that was robbing me they would probably jump and slobber all over him, but they would not harm him. I like my dogs like that, they are no threat to the neighborhood kids.

You also have to consider that the robber was probably not the brightest individual in the first place, or he would not have been doing that. Like the guy who handed a bank teller a note demanding money that was written on his own deposit slip, these guys ain't so bright.


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Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:56 am

@anon
vigilante committees: No! A thousand times no!

"citizens' watch": Yes, no problem there.

Also, could you imagine how interested the police would be if a nearby house had a video surveylance camera that caught that action?


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Posted by sandy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:16 am

"Moi"--Add to the list of things to take on a walk: a BIG, HEAVY flashlight.


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Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

Maybe the victim was 'walking the dog' with a highly prized yo yo made of white and yellow gold, studded with diamonds such as this one: Web Link


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:25 am

I am getting really tired of reading about Palo Altans that are getting robbed in the course of just walking about the city minding their own business. This is totally unacceptable.

Is there nothing that can be done? Can they put some police decoys out walking around? The idea of video cameras is good, but if these thugs are wearing hoodies they are not going to be able to see their faces anyway.

And, I wonder if every time one of these things is reported it gives ideas to a whole new bunch of losers who will get the idea that it is easy to intimidate peaceful people who mostly will give up their property rather than risk getting stabbed or shot.

So many of these situations - what is the solution. Are they catching any of them, and what happens when they do?


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Posted by Yes!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:41 am

I'm open to anything that will stop dogs from trespassing and pooping on my lawn.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:44 am

Yes, I agree a dog may not attack, but it should at least bark if its owner is being attacked, and be a deterrant.


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Posted by pancake
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm

did you nice people know, that those expanding dog leashes they have these days, was witness to a dog that went behind some hedges in front of a house, took a dump, and the owner of the dog was not aware of that. so now, these expanding leash dog s can now mess something up and the walker of dog won't realize it. so now dogs can defecate away from the owner and owner wont know it. perfect, these new leashes.


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Posted by Yes!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm

@pancake: Boy, do I know it! Before our hedges grew in, someone allowed their dog to defecate on our lawn, right in front of me. With the expanding leash, the dog went through the hedges and did its deed.

If you want to be infuriated more, check out Jordan Middle School in the evenings. Dogs off-leash on the lawn. They poop and their owners don't know because they are socializing. The next day, the students are running for P.E. and step on the poop, thereby picking up a portion of it for the slacker owner.


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Posted by ClarenceBoddicker
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

@pancake: These dogs owners with the expanding leash do know what their dogs are up to, they just do not want to clean up after them.
BTW, I walk my dogs on expanding leash's and they will occasionally
drop a load, which is why I always carry plastic bags. There are dog owners out there giving us good ones a bad name. Anyway, I prob shoud have commented on the robberies.


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Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm

We'll know the crime situation here has actually gotten bad when an article about a guy w/dog being mugged doesn't devolve into a discussion about leashes and pooping dogs.


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Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Chris- I believe it's called chasing your tail- the fun never stops!


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Posted by bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm

> if a nearby house had a video surveylance camera

If would be better if the Police were to being to use portable/mobile surveillance equipment. Unfortunately, these kinds of attacks/robberies seem to be somewhat random in nature, so the placement of such equipment at a given location is not likely to produce much in terms of results, other than randomly.

If the police were to put surveillance cameras at all of the major entry/exits to the city that, at least, took pictures of the license plates, then this data could be extracted via software, and the police would have a list of vehicles that entered/exited the city by minute--at those locations. At a minimum, these license numbers could be searched to see if any of the vehicles matched eye-witness accounts (if there were any eye-witnesses).


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Thank you Chris - my thoughts exactly.

Anon - are you only concerned about Palo Altans who get robbed, or does your sympathy extendto crime victims in surrounding communities?

How terrifying to have this loser in your face, gun in hand. Dogs of course vary in reaction, depending on many factors. Really, defending yourself w/an armed person is tricky. I'm so glad that neither victim was injured nor was the dog. I hope that our large, intimidating looking dogs keep us safe...but one never knows.

If I had my 'druthers, I'd choose armed robbery to get incensed over, vs. dog crap. Sheesh, people, some of your comments are ridiculous.


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Posted by Grace
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm

The PA Police Dept needs to get some of the cops out of their cars and have them walking around.


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Posted by Kellen
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm

"Is there nothing that can be done?"

What kind of depressive question is that? Of course, there is something that can be done: Palo Alto and the state of California can legalize cocnealed carry weapons (like our neighboring state, Nevada). Palo Altans, out for a walk, are easy targets for the predators. Turn the tables...and make the current predators the future prey.

The Second Ammendment guarantees the inidivual right to bear arms. So, let's bear arms! The bears won't be in greater danger, but the thugs will be in much greater danger! Imagine if Herbert Kay, who was murdered in Downtown Palo Alto, had a concealed weapon on him?


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm

If Dr. kay had a concealed weapon on him, there's no guarantee he still wouldn't have been beaten to death- he was killed by multiple individuals, & while they were amateurs, they were members of a ganag, vicious & huge.

Carrying a concealed weapon is no guarantee of safety or being able to fight back. One must be able to quickly access & use the weapon correctly. Moreover, I knew Dr. Kay & he wasn't exactly a gun or knife toting kind of guy. The friends I know who're good w/weapons have MANY years of training & experience, something many aren't interested in obtaining or able to.

Simplistic ideas such as being armed doesn't mean one can remain safe.


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Didn't we all know that there would be a bozo piping in with the"let's allow everybody to carry a conceal weapon" nonsense? It's shocking that there had been about 20 comments not demanding concealed weapons before that pearl of wisdom showed up.


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Posted by bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm

> Didn't we all know that there would be a bozo piping in with the
> "let's allow everybody to carry a conceal weapon" nonsense?

What studies that have been done (and there aren't that many surprisingly) tend to suggest that crime goes down in "concealed carry" states.

> Dr. Kay might still have been killed ..

Maybe .. but suppose he had gotten off a warning shot(s)..

1) Would the neighbors have heard the shots and called 911?
2) That close to the Police Station--would the Police have heard the shots and come to help?
3) If Kay had shot/killed one/more of his attackers, would those uninjured continued their attack, or fled the scene?

If the answer to any of those questions is "Yes", Kay might very well have survived his attack--perhaps even uninjured.


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Posted by Ronnie
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Before this discussion goes too far off topic into all sorts of other controversial issues, I wanted to point out something that I try to do - try to get to know the cars that park on your streets. You don't have to be super formal about it, just over time, try to observe and see who goes with what cars. Soon, you'll develop a sense of when there's a stranger around. If you see something off, note the car make and model (you can do that easily) and if you are discreet, grab the plate. If you hear about something that went down, you could provide that info to the police.
Also - don't be a snoop, but just "observe" what is going on. Make a habit of looking out your windows and see who is around. I'm not saying you have to call it in every time you see a stranger, but just be more observant. Once I looked out my window for the heck of it, and saw a bunch of kids light a pathetic little fire near a school. They weren't caught, but at least I got the FD and PD to investigate.
There have been some great stories lately about observant neighbors catching criminals. So, it can work! Maybe not every time, but I think it helps.
Just be an "active observer!" Pay attention to what is going on around your home.
Now you know...
and knowing....is half the battle!
GI JOE!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm

This is definitely going off topic.

A gun would probably have not prevented this. If the victim had had a gun, had been able to get it out, there is no saying that he would have been able to fire first and if he hadn't, who would have got hit? It may have been someone sitting in their living room in the next house, or a child in their bed asleep. If the victim had been hit first, or even if he had not been quick enough, the criminal would now have this gun too. Remember, all illegal guns were once legally held. And if the victim had been able to shoot the criminal, he may now be up on a murder charge.

We don't want wild west style gun shootouts on our streets. Keep gun control and tighten it up.


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

If a would be attacker thought there was even a slight chance his intended victim was armed, he would either sneak up from behind and clubber him/her before robbing the victim, perhaps causing serious or fatal damage, or just shoot the victim, rob him and take off. That is the case in societies in which criminals suspect their targets might be armed. The target is often killed before the robbery. This has been the case in South Africa, other parts of Africa and Latin America. If this particular criminal suspected his victim carried a concealed gun, the victim would have probably lost much more than his iPhone.


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Posted by Jim H
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm

As a former longtime Palo Alto resident now living in the St. Louis area, I can tell you that Missouri's liberal concealed-carry laws DO have a deterrent effect. At least every couple of weeks we read in the papers about a robbery or assault victim shooting his assailant (no charges ever filed against the victim in any cases I've read about). That kind of publicity can and does get the attention of the criminal element.

Certainly, there's a tremendous amount of crime in the central city of St. Louis and highly urban areas. But, sadly, I feel far safer, especially at night, in the nicer areas of St. Louis County than I do now when I visit Palo Alto.


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Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm

If the victim had been carrying a gun, it would probably have been stolen and the thugs would have yet another gun. The guy walked up to him and stuck a gun in his face, is he going to reach for his gun at that point? When told to empty his pockets, if he didn't get shot as soon as the gun appeared, he would have dropped it on the ground and it would not have been there later.

Guns hurt people, and the ones hurt most often are the ones carrying them (since you have a gun, you are an instant fair target) or someone dear to them (oops, how did junior get hold of my gun?)

If everyone in PA gets and carries a gun, I am moving out. I will not feel safe on the street. Not all people are sane and rational and even-tempered, and I don't want to encourage emotionally-challenged people to carry guns. Arming everyone is an INCREDIBLY bad idea, just plain stupid.

The victim here did what he should have done and lived to tell about it. That is about the best outcome I could wish for.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Ronnie, we do the same thing in our part of EPA. It does make a difference. I've even developed a sense about which cars belong & which don't, which is an unexpected "ability" in an area where it seems everyone has 17 cars! But I've correctly called in a number of stolen & dumped vehicles over the years.

Menlo has the advantage of not allowing parking overnight w/out a permit, so it really teaches folks which cars belong where. But in this situation, I'm betting it happened so fast, an out of place car at night, in the dark, was duly noted by people celebrating Valentine's Day, or weren't home, or had their shades drawn on a chilly night.

I actually haven't walked alone here or in ANY city, including the neighboring ones, for many years - I always take a dog w/me & make it a point not to walk far at night. Selfishly, I'm happy to have large, intimidating looking dogs for exactly the reason of crime deterrence.

I hope these victims aren't burdened w/PTSD.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Hmmmm .
> Anon - are you only concerned about Palo Altans who get
> robbed, or does your sympathy extendto crime victims in
> surrounding communities?

Do you really have to ask, or are you just asking to imply
that I do not care about other communities? Taking the time
to make up such an innuendo and posting it is really a waste
of everyone's time.

The fact is that here on the Palo Alto Online, if there are people
in other communities that are being robbed in broad daylight
in public I am not reading about it. If so, of course I am concerned
and demand that any community find a way to deal with this,
it is a kind of terrorism.

We all spend a lot of money to live here and we deserve
to enjoy it.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hmmm,
> Selfishly, I'm happy to have large, intimidating looking dogs for exactly the reason of crime deterrence.

Hypocritical? That sounds about right from your posts, and then because in my post earlier where I specifically do not mention other cities that might or might not have this problem, you accuse me of not caring, while you walk around scaring people with your dogs that is just about all I need to know about you, Hmmm.


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Posted by bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

> Remember, all illegal guns were once legally held.

This statement may present a bit of a hurdle when trying to prove. A lot of guns are imported into the US illegally, and may well have been manufactured illegally in some foreign country. Back in the later 1990s there was a shipment of AK47s that ended up here in California that came from Communist China:

Web Link

But Mr. Speaker, that is not all. Last year, it was Cosco that delivered to the State of California 2,000 AK-47's. The company that builds the AK-47's, the company that negotiates the trade of AK-47's around the world, the company Cosco, all set up by the PRC, the People's Republic of China, owns. They do not report to department heads. Their CEO is Communist China, all owned and coordinated and controlled by Communist China. Yet, they delivered over 2,000 AK-47's into our country, with the intent of selling these arms to our inner cities to disrupt, to disrupt our inner cities, and disrupt our political environment within the United States of America.
---

It's a little difficult to see these weapons as "legally owned" when a foreign government that may not be "friendly" to the US is illegally shipping them into the US for reasons that probably can only be considered as intended to empower people here to commit crimes, or destabilize the legitimate government.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Guns are problematic. Sure having a gun would deter or allow someone to defend themselves, IF they were competent to use it, if it was not stolen from them.

There are so many things that could go wrong and the Palo Alto problem has not gotten to the point where anyone has been seriously injured so far as I know. But, when is it going to happen that someone gets hurt.

What happens the first time we have gunfire on the street and the police come and do not know who is right and who is wrong, or a stray bullet goes into someone's house or hits someone in the street or driving their car?

There is really no good solution to this other than successful apprehensions and prosecutions and thus far I don't know what the "score" is between police and criminals, but I do know I have read what I consider to be quite a few stories about people being robbed in public over the last few years.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Well, let's see, Anon, in response to your nast post to me, you started it by writing: "I am getting really tired of reading about Palo Altans that are getting robbed in the course of just walking about the city minding their own business. This is totally unacceptable." Given that a Menlo resident was also robbed, I thought your post was insensitive, so that's why I asked you about it.

I'm glad my dogs look intimidating to some people - it keeps the thugs away from me. Since they (the dogs, don't know about the thugs) have been temperamant tested & I've done professional dog handling, I know my dogs are stable. In fact, as a woman, I consider them necessary for my safety when I go out alone at night. I also know that if people are scared of dogs, it's not my problem, just as it's not their problem for doing things that scare me, like riding motorcycles, or sans bike helmet, or mountain climb. I certianly don't go out of my way to intimidate people, and the truth is that so many normal people want to say hi or pet the dogs, which is fine. I have noticed its the sketchier types to skedaddle, which is fine w/me.

I don't know if you're male or female, but believe me - as a woman, I think strategically about my safety at home & when I'm out. Dogs are part of my strategy. For others, it might be pepper spray or driving in & out of their garage w/their auto door opener as an ally...or they might not think much of their safety. For pity's sake, we should be safe in our homes and neighborhoods, right??

It's strange that the armed robber was willing to rip off someone w/a dog. Even if the dog wasn't large, it could set up a racket, draw attention & things wouldn't go so smoothly for Thuggy McThugthug.


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Posted by Daughter of the Victim
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:40 pm

My father was the victim. He was walking my 9 year old 45 pound collie and was a block away from my house. Both he and my dog are ok even though he is very scared. He did not have his wallet with him and was walking with his phone, keys, and the dog. The robber just took his iPhone. He has been taking a nightly walk around these blocks for the past 15 years but it is safe to say he won't be doing the walk by himself any time soon.

He is 6 foot and was with a dog so I would say that the robber was just going after anyone he saw.


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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 16, 2012 at 1:27 am

Victim's Daughter,

I'm so glad your father is okay. What an expected, traumatic incident to have happen, especially in familiar surroundings. A very sad and distressing sign of the times.


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Posted by laura
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2012 at 4:56 am

That is a very safe, walkable neighborhood or was......Wearing a whistle around one's neck is an option although not a very good one. Someone must be very desperate to attack an elderly gentleman with a dog!! These are the times we live in.


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 16, 2012 at 6:12 am

Palo Alto will always be a target for criminals, because it's an affluent city. It's impossible to eliminate crime completely. Those are unchangeable facts. We can reduce that kind of crime by having more cops. They need to stop worrying abut pulling over drivers with dilapidated cars and expired registrations. They need to get out of their cars and walk the streets, day and night, helped by local volunteers. Now this will reduce robberies and home break-ins.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 16, 2012 at 6:16 am

Is there an app for that?

Seems the robber took the one thing that could track and report his every movement, perhaps even take his photo and record his voice. (Someone must be way ahead of me here. I'm not a mobile device user.)


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Posted by before
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 16, 2012 at 7:45 am

Wasn't there an incident a few years ago on Stanley where there was someone sitting in their car early in the morning maybe 5am then the police were called? I don't remember the whole story.


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Posted by bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 8:37 am

> He is 6 foot and was with a dog so I would say that the robber
> was just going after anyone he saw.

Thanks for sharing this information with us.

Your comment above is very likely true. Home burglaries (which occur somewhat frequently here in Palo Alto) give the perpetrators the opportunity to examine the situation, and perhaps even construct an avenue for escape, should the situation call for it. These street robberies are less likely to have a lot of planning associated with them.


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Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

Daughter,

I am so sorry this has happened to your family. I am a co-worker who was robbed at knife-point returning home from work a year ago and he is still trying to get over it. It's funny how the guy holding the gun is never as traumatized as the guy being aimed at.

At the same time, I am struck by the people complaining that one cannot even walk a dog and minding one's own business without getting robbed any more, and I would like to point out that over in EPA, one can get shot doing the same thing. It just happened again last night. As bad as this is, that would be worse.


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Posted by C
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:21 am

The story is now making some sense. Perhaps we need to hide the smart device when walking in PA..


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

@ Daughter of the Victim:

Thanks for letting us know the "other side" of this sad event. Your dad will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers, and his experience will likely cause us to be more vigilant and careful when we walk around town.

It is disappointing that a violent thug like the monster who robbed your dad can walk around and sleep at night. It is quite telling of the times in which we live -- where the conscience of such individuals has become so callous that they probably congratulate themselves for their evil, criminal acts.

Sometimes, you just have to wonder what happened over the years that has caused monsters like this to feel so emboldened as to engage in such crime. And, of course, we have to do our best to make sure that we never become like those people -- even if the temptation is there to truly wish that they get this type of evil beat right out of them.

I do hope that the cops catch this coward. Then, let this creep enjoy life while doing hard time (and, hopefully, prisons can be reformed as to truly PUNISH such perps instead of just giving them free food, water, shelter and a life free from work paid for by tax dollars).

I wonder: Is there a way to make people pay for the burden that prisons have become to taxpayers?


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Yes Nayeli, we should treat prisoners as inhumanly as possible, as a reflection of our great society and values. We should cram them like sardines in hellholes so when there is a fire hundreds die. Honduras should be our model, Syria, Guatemala and Sudan too. The kind of countries which treat their prisoners just like you want to treat prisoners right here in the US. We know how just, secure and crime free those societies are. Let's regress to the 19th century and beyond. Those were the days!


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm

@ daniel:

That is quite a bit of "reading between the lines" that you are doing there, Dan.

I am not saying that we treat all prisoners like dogs. However, I have no problem treating violent rapists, murderers and serial child abusers with the level of punishment that is reflective of the crime. If they want to live like animals and conduct themselves in this sort of way, then they should be treated accordingly.

Moreover, I don't think that we should house a person who was prosecuted for a non-violent crime (one time offense) with the same sort of punishment as we do the true stains on society that rapists, murderers and violent thugs have earned.

In fact, I think that individuals should be able to earn their way to better conditions in prison. Whether they work hard or demonstrate good behavior, they need to separate individuals by the offense.

Still, I take issue with the fact that a thug hurts someone (or threatens to while stealing their belongings) and THEN gets convicted to live as a burden on taxpayers for the rest of his life. That is a tragedy.


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Posted by Kellen
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm

"If Dr. kay had a concealed weapon on him, there's no guarantee he still wouldn't have been beaten to death- he was killed by multiple individuals, & while they were amateurs, they were members of a ganag, vicious & huge."

If Herbert Kay had a concealed weapon on him, even against a bunch of thugs, he stood a chance. The main point is that if Dr. Kay was EXPECTED to have been armed, he probably would not have attacked in the first place.

Same thing for people out walking their dogs in Palo Alto, and elsewhere.

Concealed carry laws are more likely to prevent crime that to cause it.


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Posted by Jim H
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2012 at 8:22 pm

To "musical" - yes there is an app for that - at least for Android, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's available for iPhone as well. It is Norton Mobile Security and Norton Anti-Theft - I have it installed on my Droid (I'm not trying to promote it, just saying that it's available and I paid to get it on my phone). It allows tracking by the owner (with a password of course) on the web of the phone's location and will snap and upload pictures through the front camera. There was an article is some newspaper a few weeks ago where a similar application caught a robber.


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm


this armed robbery event plus the shooting on Maddux Ave in midtown plus the armed robbery at the mid town 711 are disturbing

--does the easy access to 101 enable these gun crimes?

Cameras to record license plates in the area may help

In a declining economy violent crime is spreading and increasing


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 17, 2012 at 6:53 am

"Concealed carry laws are more likely to prevent crime that to cause it."
Hogwash. In countries in which criminals suspect a target carries a concealed weapon they never approach him from the front, they jump him from behind and often they kill him before robbing him. If concealed weapons are allowed, more victims will be killed instead of walking away alive without their wallets or mobile phones. criminals will also rob them BECAUSE they think they have weapons on them, in order to obtain the weapons as well.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 17, 2012 at 7:33 am

"--does the easy access to 101 enable these gun crimes?"
Not sure how you get "easy access" to 101 from Maddux Street or from Midtown for that matter

"Cameras to record license plates in the area may help"
Exactly how will it help--will you expect the police to run every plate number after every crime. Let's get real.

"In a declining economy violent crime is spreading and increasing"
You are not up on the news, Sharon, the economy is slowly getting better. Anyway to conclude that violent crime is increasing and spreading we would need to see your proof for that claim? Care to provide it?


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Posted by Kellen
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

"Hogwash. In countries in which criminals suspect a target carries a concealed weapon they never approach him from the front, they jump him from behind and often they kill him before robbing him."

The data in this country suggest just the opposite: There is less violent crime in states that allow concealed carry.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 17, 2012 at 8:19 am

Kellen:
"The data in this country suggest just the opposite: There is less violent crime in states that allow concealed carry."

Link,please,to the data.

Jim h.:
"I can tell you that Missouri's liberal concealed-carry laws DO have a deterrent effect. At least every couple of weeks we read in the papers about a robbery or assault victim shooting his assailant (no charges ever filed against the victim in any cases I've read about). "

Couldn't any stories on the internet. Would think they would be big news. Please provide links for the last year (that would be at least 26 incidents, based on your comments)


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Posted by bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:32 am

> Exactly how will it help--will you expect the police to run every
> plate number after every crime. Let's get real.

Comments like this one make one wonder where this poster has been living for the last forty years?

Here is the scenario for license plate surveillance:

1) Digital camera records all license plates with time stamps at selected locations in town.

2) If a robbery occurs, then the license numbers are extracted from the digital recordings, with the time-stamps.

3) This list of license plates is prioritized, based on city-of-residence of previous robbery perpetrators and submitted via a data-link to the DMV central computer. This system returns, by data-link, the names, city-of-residence, vehicle type, license number, etc. and the pertinent information that the local police deem important for their investigation. Depending on the time-of-day, the number of candidate vehicles needing identification would run in the hundreds, or thousands, so the time to run this list would vary, but assuming that every police district in California would be wanting to use such a system, this would doubtless be a dedicated service. Moreover, since the number of vehicles in California is somewhere between 20M and 30M, the DMV could make a database of just certain information available to local police to make these lookups without having to wait for a central server to do the work.

4) Retention of these records would be short, but in the case of robberies, the lists of vehicles that were in the city around the time of the robbery would be retained. Over time, there is a high likelihood that the same vehicle might show up in these lists—which would give the police a good place to start their investigation.

While some of the software needed to make this scenario is not in place at the moment, most of the "pieces" exist, and only need to be "stitched" together by a systems house to make this sort of crime fighting tool available to all of the police departments in California.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:45 am

"Comments like this one make one wonder where this poster has been living for the last forty years?"
I know where I have been living for the last 40 years--how about you, Bill? Can we say petty dictatorship--maybe like the way East Germany used to monitor everyone???

"1) Digital camera records all license plates with time stamps at selected locations in town."
Once the selected locations become known, they would be avoided

"2) If a robbery occurs, then the license numbers are extracted from the digital recordings, with the time-stamps."
If a robbery occurs where?? Anywhere? NEar the location of the camera???

"3) This list of license plates is prioritized, based on city-of-residence of previous robbery perpetrators and submitted via a data-link to the DMV central computer"
And then what happens?? The police go visit every the owner of every car with a license number that has been "prioritized"?? People will have to prove their innocence during the visit? SOunds very dictatorship-like to me.


And who will pay for this system.
Thanks but no thanks--the liberals willl not go for it because of the civil liberty issues, the republicans will not go for it because it involves more government monitoring--it is a lose/lose situation.

Sorry, Bill


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Posted by bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:06 am

> maybe like the way East Germany used to monitor everyone???

And your point is? You made a statement that the police could not "run every plate". Not true, in this day and age. Do you ever listen to your self? In this case, there is no intention to monitor people on the streets, or to enlist half the nation to spy on the other half, as was the case in East Germany. Get a grip, man!

> If a robbery occurs where?? Anywhere?
> NEar the location of the camera???

Trying thinking a bit before posting. There are only so many entry/exits here in Palo Alto--Middlefield/San Antonion, Embaradero/H.101, ECR/Menlo Park, ECR/Mountain View, etc. Somewhere between 20-30 main points of access/egress. There is little chance that people are going to use public transit to come from places like Oakland, Redwood City, San Francisco, etc. to commit street crimes, like the one being discussed here. It's also unlikely that people who are inclined to rob people on the streets of Palo Alto are likey to switch vehicles every time they "make a run" here in PA.

For robberies that occur when traffic volumes are low, there is a high probability that the "perp" will exit the city at the nearest point of egress. But computer-based license plate checking is so fast that with would become procedure to check every camera's recordings.

> And who will pay for this system.

There are, perhaps 500 police jurisdictions in California. While the cost of putting such a system together would doubtless run over $100M when all of the cameras and computer equipment is considered--the cost would be shared over all the state, over the coming years. As to small towns like Palo Alto, the cost of getting the cameras, and the software, could be in the $250K-$500K range. Given that the City is pushing a new police station that will probably cost the taxpayers about $100M over the next 30 years, who will pay for that? The question ultimately becomes--where is the bang for the buck? There is nothing the police station will provide in reduced crime, or increased closure rates for crime, in this town. Using digital surveillance is a small expenditure that could reduce the number of street crimes, over time.

> the liberals willl not go for it because of
> the civil liberty issues

"Liberals" have always been "soft on crime". And given that the retention times for the data would be short (maybe 24 hours), there really is not "civil liberty issues" other than in the minds of some who don't think clearly.

> sorry, bill ..

And that's what we will continue to say to the victims of street crime in this city, with people who have no idea what they are talking about keeping us from using the technology that we develop here in the Silicon Valley.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:35 am

"And your point is? You made a statement that the police could not "run every plate". Not true, in this day and age. Do you ever listen to your self?"
Too bad, Bill, that you are so insecure/uptight that you cannot read a comment that is questioning your writing without resorting to remarks like "Do you ever listen to your self?"?
So who needs to "get a grip?
BTW, why do you assume that the robbers will be coming by car?

"Trying thinking a bit before posting. "
Same comment as above--Too bad, Bill, that you are so insecure/uptight that you cannot read a comment that is questioning your writing without resorting to remarks like "Trying thinking a bit before posting"?

"And given that the retention times for the data would be short (maybe 24 hours), "
But I thought you stated that some of the data will be retained for longer ("the lists of vehicles that were in the city around the time of the robbery would be retained")--so when a robbery occurs the data will be retained.

"with people who have no idea what they are talking about keeping us from using the technology that we develop here in the Silicon Valley."
Someone is unhappy that every one is jumping on Bill's bandwagon.

Bottom line--Bill's plan, for various reasons, will never be implemented.


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Posted by bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

> But I thought you stated that some of the data will be retained
> for longer ("the lists of vehicles that were in the city around
> the time of the robbery would be retained")--so when a robbery
> occurs the data will be retained

There are, arguably, about 500K vehicle trips in PA every day. There are maybe 350 Burglary, larcenty-theft and motor vehicle thefts in PA during a typical year. So, the proposal, as written, intends that all of the recordings would be discarded if there were no robberies on a given day. If there were, then the license numbers and the time stamps would be extracted, and the vehicle particulars obtained from the DMV via a data-link, or performed locally/regionally. It is these lists that would be retained, and then for some period of time that the local police would have some input into. The lists would need some protection, requiring state-wide legislation that would make it illegal to use this information for anything other than specific criminal investigations. However, these lists would need to be sharable with other police agencies, since the nature of crime fighting in the bay area is most certainly regional.

> the liberals willl not go for it because of
> the civil liberty issues

There are surveillance cameras just about everywhere these days—in banks, stores, airports, bridges, even school buses. Why would the "liberals" be OK with surveillance in a bank (where there money is kept) but outraged about collecting and using vehicle license plate numbers to fight crime in the city where they live?

The London police were able to identify the murderous young Muslim men who bombed the London subway fairly quickly. Where was the Liberal outrage then? Locally, the PA Police were able to crack a fair hard case of an Oakland-based, Fagin-like, character who enlisted young men to come to Palo Alto and break into cars and homes. The case was eventually resolved when surveillance cameras at a restaurant on ECR caught these young men in action. Eventually they were identified and the "ring" brought down. Where was the Liberal outrage about that use of surveillance technology?

> what makes you think that criminals use cars to come to PA
> to commit crimes.

Reading the local papers, the city-of-residence of most criminals that are caught is: East Palo Alto, Oakland, San Francisco, Redwood City and San Jose. Oh, and most of the articles about initial crime reports often include the reference to a vehicle


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Posted by Kellen
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2012 at 11:59 am


Web Link

"[R]obbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all." In approximately 2.5 million instances each year, someone uses a firearm, predominantly a handgun, for self defense in this nation.

In research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, in which almost 2,000 felons were interviewed, 34% of felons said they had been "scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim" and 40% of these criminals admitted that they had been deterred from committing a crime out of fear that the potential victim was armed. "





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Posted by bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm

The following short video is a little off-point of the use of vehicle license surveillance, but hopefully makes the point that this technology can be useful--

Bus Driver Hits Cyclist:
Web Link


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I was truly surprised to hear about this Walter Hays robbery since it is such a safe neighborhood.
I think criminals may be roving the entire Bay Area and seeking out such safe, complacent residential neighborhoods where they can pull a fast one with shock and awe. Palo Alto police need to find a way to make it clear such crimes are unacceptable in this community. I do think easy access to Highway 101 could be a plus to criminals entering/departing this community. I highly doubt the criminals are locals. Just my gut from living here awhile.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm

A few days ago there was an article about a man who was shot and KILLED. Web Link It got one comment, mine. However this story about dogs, poop and a Palo Alto victim gets a whole lot of attention. I don't know what to think of my fellow man anymore.


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Posted by uck! guns
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

GUNS are BAD! because some people are violent and use guns indiscriminately.


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Posted by Kellen
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm

GUNS are GOOD! because some people are violent and use violence indiscriminately. The best defense is a good offense.


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Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 21, 2012 at 10:10 am

"GUNS are GOOD! because some people are violent and use violence indiscriminately. The best defense is a good offense."

This from the "Kill 'em all and let God sort it out" lobby.


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