Posted by street lights, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm
Anyone else think the street lights around midtown are not bright enough? The city is encouraging people to walk and bike more around town, but the dim street lights are hurting safety. Those new LED street lights are supposed to be very energy efficient, so cost really should not be an issue.
Posted by Great Dane, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 12:37 am
Answer to this problem: Universal, high definition video cameras. Of course, in Palo Alto this idea will receive howls of opposition. Just wait a few years, as these crimes increase, because they will increase, as times are hard and will stay hard for some time. Combine that with an every more vulnerable, aging, very upper-middle-class population and you have a perfect incubator for opportunistic street crime and home theft. The longer Palo Alto waits to turn the cameras on, the bolder these petty thieves are going to get.
Last, it might be interesting to start putting out some police decoys that appear vulnerable. I would love to see some of these thugs caught, and put away.
Posted by JustMe, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 9:33 am
Great Dane, yes, 1984's Big Brother is the answer, right.
Your real security will be lost when you start trading your rights for security. When you lose your rights, you have lost your security. Universal cameras owned and controled by the government are a violation of our rights to privacy because they give away too much information about us that we might wish to keep private.
Cameras on homes and belonging to the homeowners would not be a violation of our rights because they would not be controlled by a central entity. There is nothing wrong, and much that is right, with people putting up their own systems. I encourage that, but I would oppose giving that task to the government.
Also, high definition is expensive and not required. Even a low definition still camera would have revealed more about the getaway car than "small and dark-colored". The police would have had a lot more to go on. Could you imagine how much information could be had if every 4th house on Middlefield had a camera that viewed the street?
Posted by JLC, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 11:57 am
JustMe: That's an interesting idea of private surveillance of the community. Coordination of residential surveillance would be an interesting idea for a startup. Cameras are cheap these days - it wouldn't take much non-labor capital....
Posted by Arch Conservative, a resident of Menlo Park, on Mar 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm
The Oregon Expressway runs in a SSW to NNE direction and Middlefiled runs in a WNW to ESE direction. How can she be walking on the East sidewalkof Middlefield and South of the Oregon Expressway- Look at a map.
Posted by Raymond Lucas, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm
The "purse" is an outdated, vulnerable, accoutrement. Do you really need your purse, at night, to go to 7-eleven? Use your head; protect yourself. police are only there to catch and punish someone AFTER they rob or kill you.
Posted by jerryl, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm
If anyone is contemplating getting their own video surveillance camera system PLEASE spend the extra few dollars for a reasonable resolution camera. I get so tired seeing those low contrast, grainy photos of perps on the TV news. "Here's what the guy looked like." Yeah, right.
They all look the same and you wouldn't recognize him if he was your brother. Camera technology is so much better these days that it ought to be a requirement for stores to replace their cameras with higher definition models. Then we might actually see some results.
Posted by bumblebee, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm
Fortunately there are four cameras at the Middlefield/Oregon intersection. It's very likely the south-looking one (for ArchCon: the 128 degree one) caught the act and vehicle. If the camera is high-def, then a license plate number may be discernible.
I love the idea of these cameras in public spots to deter and/or catch criminals. Exactly what rights am I giving up? I don't care if the police have these tapes to review any more than I care if a cop at the intersection notices me. It's no different. Most reasonable law-abiding people agree.
Posted by neighbor, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm
Having cameras in public places doesn't seem like much of a violation of my rights, at least not compared to my right to live in fear -- it's no secret I'm there, and why would anyone in government care about when an average citizen is shopping at Walgreens? Requiring me to have a camera at home, or intrusion into private space would be a different matter. If well-located cameras can provide some deterence and facilitates catching criminals I'm all for it.
@common sense -- have no idea what you mean by think before action. Of course light (or lack thereof) matters, that's why criminal activity increases at night!
Posted by E.S., a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm
As an additional safety measure, especially after dark, it might be best to not walk alone. A second person can be a deterrent to single attacker. can assist the person attacked and possibly be able to help in identifying the perpetrator and vehicle involved.
Posted by Video Problem, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm
The challenge with video is that a lot of criminals know they're potentially "on camera", and so they wear hoodies, dark clothes or masks - and guess what? They look like a thousand other people and are certainly not recognizable by anyone.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm
It's going to be difficult for the police department to answer the calls of "more police presence". The "more" part is the problem because they continue to operate with less staffing, specialty assignments, and resources. Due to mandatory budget cuts over the past several years the force is operating with 15-20% less officers than it did twenty years ago. Many specialized positions that concentrated on working crime trends have been eliminated. In addition to having less positions to operate with, the force is also down 14 positions. It's all they can do to maintain minimum staffing levels for basic patrol.
Even if they do begin hiring new officers to fill these vacancies, it takes nearly a full year of academy and field training before they can work on their own and truly fill the position. The police department is having to do more with less. People demand the cuts and sacrifices, but continue to expect an extremely high level of service and responsiveness. The two don't go together and something has to give. Through all of this I still find it remarkable that the department has made numerous, well publicized arrests for many serious crimes. They have identified several people responsible for committing burglaries and robberies in Palo Alto, along with recovering stolen property. We should all be thankful for having a police department that remains committed and productive despite the limitations and obstacles.
Posted by NutTwister, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm
They never get away with much from these incidents but what a pain in the butt for the victim. As my momma used to say, "he who steals my purse steals trash". Never carry valuables in a purse. And as few IDs as possible. And no matter how startled you are, try to remember to scream "help help call 911" real loud while simultaneously twisting off his nuts and jabbing his eyes out. If it's just one guy doing this, let's try to make Midtown safe by coming out to assist or at least be witnesses for neighbors in distress and calling 911 right away if we see anything go down.
Posted by CamilleStevens, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm
I'm so disappointed in the quality of work of Palo Alto and Menlo Park police detectives, in fact disgusted by it. Look at how many times the car involved in the house burglary this week got away from them. They end up finding the car and some property but the thugs who do this stuff got away to do it again another day.
Two years ago, I couldn't even get my iphone recovered when it was stolen in Menlo Park and I went to the Menlo Park police with the name, address, phone number, and positive ID of the person who stole it from me! Because it was stolen out of my car on a job with a temporary co-worker who was immediately terminated. I went with the policeman to his house and all he had to do was deny it and I was told that there was no warrant even though the guy had a petty theft criminal past it was my word against his. And that was the end of it and I'm sure he sold it on the black market later the same day.
What gets me angier still is the fact that ATT and Apple assist this blackmarket in stolen phones. There was a GPS on that puppy and Apple and ATT would not help because I was not paying extra for a special service to have that kind of tracking "turned on". Instead the ATT store on El Camino referred me to a shop in Palo Alto where they resell these iphones that are bought off Craigslist and they know they are selling stolen property.
Posted by JustMe, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 26, 2012 at 3:13 pm
" Look at how many times the car involved in the house burglary this week got away from them."
But also look at how many times they found it again, they did not give up. The fact that they declined to frighten those guys into a high-speed chase through city streets, risking the lives of anyone in the area, does not bother me at all. Kudos to the police for potentially saving lives by not giving chase. Yeah, they got away in the end, but you know what? NO ONE DIED!
Save the high-speed police chases through red lights and down sidewalks for the movies, where they belong.