Couple robbed walking home Crimes & Incidents, posted by Barry, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2006 at 4:05 pm
I personally find these crimes really chilling - the ones that happen right in our own neighborhoods, face to face. What's going on here? Cowper and Tennyson is right in one of the nicest, quietest parts of the city? Does anyone have any ideas how we can stop this? I keep hoping each of these stories will be the last one I read, but they just keep happening.
Posted by Tyler Hanley, online editor of Palo Alto Online, on Jul 2, 2006 at 5:49 pm Tyler Hanley is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Here is the Palo Alto Online news story, posted Sunday morning, on the armed robbery referred to by the post above:
A Palo Alto couple returning home from a night in downtown Palo Alto was robbed at gunpoint early Saturday morning by two masked men who got away with cash, a purse, a wallet with credit cars and a cell phone.
The victims of the 12:38 a.m. robbery, at Cowper Street and Tennyson Avenue, were not harmed and were told to walk away, according to police Sgt. Sandra Brown.
One robber was described as a black male adult between 18 and 25 years old, 6'2" and 200 lbs. The second robber was described as a black male adult, about the same age, 5'9" and 180 lbs. Both men were wearing dark hooded sweat shirts, dark pants and ski masks. The suspects were last seen walking west on Tennyson from Cowper towards Alma.
Posted by susie, a resident of another community, on Jul 3, 2006 at 11:43 am
I drive home via Cowper every week-day evening and I have noticed that the neighborhoods are very deserted except for laborers (gardeners etc) Once I saw a man on a bicycle riding in and out of driveways...looking around at each house. I have never,ever seen a Police cruiser on Cowper.
Posted by DC, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 4, 2006 at 2:23 am
I live just around the corner from where this happened. I used to take late-evening walks and rarely saw another person doing the same. This type of robbery disturbs me as it apppears the couple may have been targeted and stalked before the crime. Let's hope this is a one-off and not the start of a new crime trend. Get to know your neighbors and the cars they drive; you can't live securely in isolation forever.
Posted by Ray, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Jul 5, 2006 at 12:58 pm
May I suggest to the online editor to put in place a registration requirement before anyone is allowed to post comments. Required information should include name, address, phone number. One can still use a psuedoname but at least the real person behind that name would be known to online staff. This should prevent most unwanted commentators, but should someone choose to make inappropriate or offence remarks, that person can then be sought out and the privilege to post taken away.
Posted by Mac, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Jul 5, 2006 at 5:35 pm
Regarding the race issue - there's so much that can be said and discussed with regards to racial trends and crime. I believe that we should lead the way in putting the focus on the crimes and anti-social behavior that other PEOPLE commit, not what is comitted by white/black/latino/asian people. There's bad apples in every bunch. Any person of any race has a right to walk our streets. I think we just have to continue to look out for each other. It is sometimes unavoidably tempting to reach for racial stereotypes and hatred to explain things and place blame. Its a force of human nature, but one I firmly belive we need to fight against.
I don't think people should have to register to use this service. I do think the Weekly should continue to remove totally outlandish posts at their discretion, but I would appreciate if they would continue to say when they've done it, just so we know. I've noticed a "post removed by Weekly staff" in other threads, but the racist posting was removed today after I had responded to it, which of course they did acknowlege.
Posted by Bill Johnson, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, on Jul 5, 2006 at 5:59 pm Bill Johnson is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Ray: We considered requiring registration, and have built into the system a capability to restrict posters on any specific topic to those who have registered. We also can "lock" any topic if we think the comments have drifted inappropriately. So far, however, we have opted to move quickly to remove offensive content as a preferable strategy. There have only been two or three comments that have crossed the line and a few others where we deleted a sentence or two where the poster attacked another person. In every case we disclose that we have removed a portion of the comment.
Requiring registration, unfortunately, doesn't really achieve much. It's so easy for a person to provide fabricated registration information that a person bent on misusing the system would easily get around the desired accountability of registration. And even if we did "catch" someone, it's too easy for them to change e-mail addresses and start anew.
I'm confident that we can get offensive comments off the site quickly and hopefully discourage those people from continuing to post.
Mac: Thanks for your thoughtful posts, and I'm sorry you were posting your comment just as we were removing the post you were responding to.
Posted by Ray, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Jul 5, 2006 at 6:11 pm
Most anywhere on the web, you are required to register in order to receive the right to post. What is so different about this forum that it should be open to anyone, anywhere, any time without consequence?
It is impossible for the online editor to police this forum 24/7, which means someone can always post something that will stay there long enough for an audience, before the plug is pulled. In fact, what is to stop the same person who wrote the offensive piece from returning with another message of hate?
Posted by Ray, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Jul 5, 2006 at 7:28 pm
I don't mean to bombard this thread with my comments but Bill Johnson's post needs a response.
Bill, you might want to check with Homeland Security to see if registration is required for a public forum on the internet. For all we know, someone in Iraq can pose as a resident in one of the neighborhoods and communicate with someone in Afganistan posing as another resident in another neighborhood by way of coded messages through this forum and no one would have any idea.
You've got to have a way to track down the source of each and every message. There's an easy way to at least make life difficult for someone hellbent on posting unwanted messages here. Add another required field: e-mail address. The system should be set up to automatically ping the e-mail address, and allow the posting to appear only after getting a reply. You'll at least have the unique IP address of the sender.
Posted by Bill Johnson, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, on Jul 6, 2006 at 8:44 am Bill Johnson is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Your points are all good ones (and no, there are no laws requiring forums to require registration and most do not), but unfortunately your premise that you can "track down" posters who provide their e-mail address just isn't so. I'm told by our IT people that most IP addresses of individual home computers aren't permanent...they are assigned every time a connection is made. In any case, requiring an e-mail address doesn't accomplish any accountability. You could set up a dozen new e-mail addresses on dozens of free sites providing nothing more than a fake name and address. Then we send a confirming e-mail "ping" and what has been accomplished? We've confirmed the existence of an e-mail address. You can go to any cafe, hotel and many government offices and connect through their Internet connection. Maybe the FBI or Homeland Security could find you, but we certainly can't. So we've concluded that we have to monitor the site and make malicious posters feel unwelcome. Admittedly, it's imperfect. But so far our experience has been great. The posts have been thoughtful and without personal attacks. I think the people who are determined to post unacceptable comments on a site are going to attempt it regardless of whether registration is required. When they are thwarted in their attempts, hopefully they will move on to another site that isn't monitoring as diligently.
Thanks for your comments. You raise valid concerns that we have spent a lot of time discussing internally.