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What can we do about recent crime in Palo Alto?

Original post made by Package, Palo Verde, on Jul 13, 2008

Having been a 15 year resident with two teenage children, I am saddened to think our wonderful community is being taken over by fear. Our house was one of many to be burglarized this year and recently, a family friend was shot while walking home a few weeks ago. While I'm not going to waste anyone's time pointing fingers at the system I do wonder what we can do to help the situation?

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Comments (44)

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Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 13, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Hire more Police Officers. No wait, we have people who feel we pay our officers way too much money and benifits.
Can't have it both ways folks!

Like this comment
Posted by Jon
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 14, 2008 at 12:08 am

Cynical comments aside *cough*

At the Chili cook-off, PAPD had a neighborhood watch plan registration/planner thing I unfortunately didn't pay too much attention to.

Stay tuned, I'm sure the police know fully well about this concern. I am curious as to the status of "Operation Safe Neighborhood" which noticeably decreased crime with increased patrols. Try the suggestions in this article:


How To Reduce Crime In Your Neighborhood

While we don't like to talk about it - or even think about it - crime is on the increase in America, and throughout the world. The number of burglars, muggers, auto thieves, robbers, purse snatchers, rapist, etc. is growing at an alarming rate. Now you, as a resident, working with neighbors can help reduce the crime rate.

How? By organizing and/or joining a neighborhood program in which you and your neighbors get together to learn how to protect yourselves, your families, your homes, and your property. Working together, you can get the criminals off your block and out of your area.

There's safety in numbers and power through working with a group. You'll get to know your neighbors better, and working with them you can reduce crime, develop a more united community, provide an avenue of communications between police and citizens, establish on-going crime prevention techniques in your neighborhood, and renew citizen interest in community activity.

"Citizen Safety Projects" are set up to help you do this. It is a joint effort between private citizens and local police. Such programs have been started all over the country. Maybe one already exists in your community.

These organizations don't require frequent meetings (once a month or so). They don't ask anyone to take personal risks to prevent crime. They leave the responsibility for catching criminals where it belongs-with the police. This is NOT a "vigilante group"!

These groups gather citizens together to learn crime prevention from local authorities. You cooperate with your neighbors to report suspicious activities in the neighborhood, to keep an eye on homes when the resident is away, and to keep everyone in the area mindful of the standard precautions for property and self that should always be taken. Criminals avoid neighborhoods where such groups exist.

Through cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, some of the things you will learn-and all free-are:

1. What to do in an emergency.
2. How to best identify a suspicious person.
3. How to identify a vehicle being used in a suspected criminal activity.
4. Signs to watch out for before entering a house or apartment that may be in the process of being burglarized.
5. What to do in case of injury.
6. What to do about suspicious people loitering on your street.
7. How to identify stolen merchandise.
8. How to recognize an auto theft in progress.
9. How to protect your house or apartment.
10. How to recognize a burglary in progress.
11. How to protect yourself and your family ...and much more.

It's easy to get your group started. All you have to do is contact your neighbors and arrange a date, place and time for the first meeting. Hold the meetings at your home or that of a neighbor. Try to plan a time that is convenient to most of your neighbors-preferably in the evening.

Then call your local police department. They will be happy to give your group informal lectures, free literature-and in many instances, window stickers and ID cards.

Remember: Officers can't be everywhere. Your cooperation with them is for the benefit of you, your family, and your neighborhood.

Be Safe... Stay Safe!

Carl Ellis, owner - THE GUARDIAN COMPANY
"Where You Go When You Gotta Know!"

Source: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2008 at 3:38 am

We need video recording at all major intersections so that cruisers can never be sure their picture is not on file. We also need to reconsider profiling.

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Posted by Anna
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:19 am

The primary cause of the crime wave is the same as the cause for our crumbling streets and infrastructure: successive city councils have focused attention of the sexy, trendy extras like climate change and bike racing at the expense of the boring basics of municipal government like public safety and pothole repair.

Think of how much council meeting time over the past year was spent on environment-related matters compared to how much time the council spent talking about the crime wave and you start to understand the problem.

It's not as fun to talk about street repair as it is to flaunt your climate change expertise and get your picture taken with Al Gore in Washington as our Mayor did. But cities that don't pay attention to the fundamentals of city government: streets and safety are doomed to decline.

Welcome to the future.

Like this comment
Posted by TJ
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:42 am

Tim, "Hire more Police Officers." Our Police Department would gladly hire more Police Officers if they could find suitable applicants. They are actively looking because they have vacancies to fill.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:44 am

We need to consider CCTV in all downtown, midtown areas where people congregate and in all parking areas. We need to put safety first before privacy (what do you want to do in public that is so private) and we need to prevent loitering. And, gun control would help.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2008 at 8:03 am

What is really needed is a return to family values, particularly in lower income neighborhoods where by and large criminals live. We need to get fathers taking responsibility for their sons and mothers to make sure that their sons have a male role model in their lives. We need to get young teens involved in something that will give them direction in life be it sport, school or church activities and we need them to be able to use their high energy doing productive projects so that they don't have time to hang out and get into trouble with gangs, through boredom or peer pressure.

This type of problem only exists because we have a system which allows young people, particularly males, to grow up without being spanked as young children, disciplined in school, and look on "beating the system" appear as a badge of honor rather than an indicator of worse things to come.

Lower income neighborhoods must be helped as well as single mothers in these areas given guidance how to raise their sons.

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Posted by JF
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 14, 2008 at 9:47 am

A couple neighboring cities with low income families in our area also have major gang problems. Cities have Gang task forces, PAL Sports Groups (police activities leagues) and DARE and do work to become a part of the community and try to turn these kids around. The problem is that once these kids reach a certain age...they are usually considered "lost." The 9-14 age group is where the primary focus needs to be...pre-teen. Once they are in high school it is much more difficult to set them straight. During a tight economy, many city departments get cut heavily and decisions between Recreation programs and Public Safety have to be made. It is a hard call. We need the cops on the beat, but we need the programs to keep the kids out of trouble and to give them daily positive mentors. For those that are serious about trying to make a difference, I would contact some of these cities and see how you can volunteer to work with some of these kids. These organizations need man-power. Consistency is what makes a difference.

Hard to change what happens in the home, but we can try to help to change the environment around them.

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Posted by Package
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 14, 2008 at 11:33 am

Wow. Ask and you shall receive. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

As an aside (see comment from "Resident" above)---If you look at the number of incarcerated males the majority are born to young, single mothers. What if we paid at risk girls/women to NOT get pregnant and stay in school and provide vocational programs for those not interested in going to college. Now that would be an interesting social experiment.

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Posted by A PA Resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2008 at 12:29 pm

One of the reasons crime is on the increase is because our prisons are full and a Federal Judge has ordered early release for many. What will they do - go right back to criminal behavior. Also EPA Police are cracking down, and we're an easy nearby target. Just don't go Downtown in the evening, eat at restaurants in Menlo Park and Mountain View.

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Posted by julie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2008 at 2:31 pm

The way to avoid such violence is to never go to downtown Palo Alto at night.
Ask yourself, there have been to armed robberies in a month right next to the police headquarters with one fatality, these gangster thugs are clearly not afraid of the PAPD. Downtown is getting more like Detroit or EPA.

My elderly mother will not go downtown during daylight because of all the beggars and vagrants.

Mr Frost is still begging outside whole foods, nothing is going to change.

We know where the gangsters come from but we are too PC to do anything about it so my advice is to stay home or dine in Menlo Park where they keep the streets safe.

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Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2008 at 2:38 pm

This is certainly a very disconcerting problem, and I think the previous posters are all on to something. Our personal safety is really easy to take for granted, but that sense of security is really fragile.
I think it would be interesting to know statistically where we are this year compared to other years in all categories. It seems like that's number one.
I would also like to know from cops if there is anything at all in terms of policy, procedure, sfaffing, equipment, etc. that they would like changed, or feel is somehow making their job more difficult.
If it is indeed true that crime is on the rise, and that increase it really statistically significant, than we need a leader in city government who can look at all the facts and opinions and make some good strong decisions. Then, we need an understanding community that is willing to be open-minded and supportive.

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Posted by k
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 14, 2008 at 9:07 pm

We were out in downtown Mountain View the other evening, throngs of people and a feeling - unlike PA

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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 8:44 am

GMC. Are you going to ask. Lynn Johnson the Chief, Officer Yore, the sargent who does not know how to act in public or one of the officers that have been convicted of crimes while working for the Palo Alto Police department?
Good advise? anything coming from any of these OFFICERS?

That is how bad this City has gotten.

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Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Maybe we could ask one of the other officers. What's your suggestion?

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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 21, 2008 at 4:07 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Amen to Walter E. Wallis's suggestions, video recording and profiling. There are indeed unfortunate problems in nearby cities and we can hope they will be addressed, but public safety must come first.

Like this comment
Posted by alex
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2008 at 10:20 am

On the whole, we're safer than we've ever been. On the other hand our freedoms are flying out the window. So, obviously we need to be safer!

I suggest helmets on all children, permanently attached with homing beacons.

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Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2008 at 4:16 pm

What freedoms are "flying out the window?" I think we're as free as we've ever been. Is there some specific freedom that you've lost that you can point to? I mean personally - have you lost any freedom? Anyone you know?

Like this comment
Posted by manny
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 21, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Look at local violent crime rates compared to national averages

This is scary stuff! see Web Link

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2008 at 4:55 pm

The only freedoms that I can think of having lost in the recent few years is the freedom to walk downtown during the day without being asked for help by the homeless and a freedom to walk downtown late at night without the fear of being shot after being robbed.

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Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 21, 2008 at 6:12 pm

We need new policies and management in the police department. Priorities need to be reset to make protecting the public a focus of the department.

If your house is burglarized, the police basically make a perfunctory report and tell you to contact your insurance company. I know this from personal experience.

One house may be one thing but the burglars will come again to a different house. The police need to start using modern forensics and investigation techniques and get these people off of the streets.

Our police department made its investigation of the children's theater the centerpiece of its efforts to protect us. This was a huge waste of time and resources.

Let's get new management and priorities into the police department.

Like this comment
Posted by Just the facts
a resident of University South
on Jul 21, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Global warming data: Coldest winter in China ever. North Anerica set record lows too numerous to list. Right now, Today, here in San Jose, we set a record for the low and almost a record for the lowest high.

Crime data: Mountain View is experiencing highest murder rates ever. San Fran, with the fantastically effective gun control, somehow can't stop its spiraling murder rate.

Naw....lets worry about this theoretical nasty greenhouse problem. It would be interesting if those supercomputers that can model weather 100 years out could also model crime rates if we actually enforced immigration laws and at least new who the hell was in this country. They would likely show such a reduction in crime that too many government folks would be out of jobs.

Looks like local murders this year are "hockey sticking."

Like this comment
Posted by Leo
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 21, 2008 at 11:48 pm

It's pretty obvious to me why crime is increasing nationwide. "It's the economy, stupid."

Look how much money is pouring out of the U.S. into an endless war, shipment of middle-class jobs overseas, and escalating price of energy. Being at the mercy of Republicans (and corporatist Democrats) for this long has really taken a toll on everything (economy, infrastructure, etc.). This tends to "trickle down" into crime, robbery, drugs, and worse in our everyday lives. This corruption starts at the top and showers us all with its 'gifts'.

Like this comment
Posted by Howard
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2008 at 8:52 am

The statistics do not bear out the notion that crime is significantly increasing. There have been burglaries regularly ocurring in Palo Alto for decades, and there are peaks and valleys in the statistics. Block organizations that keep an eye out and report anyone suspicious (without guilty white liberal hesitation) are the best solution.

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Posted by Observor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2008 at 9:53 am

To Robert Smith, I'm interested, how did you come to the conclusion that the police department is not making an effort to take criminals off the street? They caught someone who broke into our car with a fingerprint match. They caght the man who kidnapped and raped the Gunn High School girl last year. Crime happens everywhere, yes, even in Palo Alto, a place where most people in this country would gladly live. It is still a safe place. Police work must be a tough business. Even tougher when uninformed people make ignorant comments. Besides, it's very clear that you just used this opportunity to take another cheap shot at the police department over the CT issue.

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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2008 at 10:44 am


They beat an old man in the streets.
Felt out women
Moved the bloody shoes
Do not respect other police officers from other Cities
Brought a bomb back to city hall that exploded
Oh the CT thats all?
Lets see Denise was driving with 3 people in a 2 person car? Then hit this,hit that and ended up in a driveway?

The list is too long!

It is a matter of PRIDE to catch the stupid crook and let the smart ones get a way.
White collar crime is still crime. Observe both side.

Wow never thought of that one,did ya?

Crooks in UNIFORM do not get out of jail FREE. Well in most places besides Palo Alto that is.
So a uniform is a permit to. Not follow the LAW? You think like they do? The old teflon uniform?

Like this comment
Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2008 at 11:02 am

Now for REAL.

Move. Palo Alto's residents and city leaders are not very well liked in the Bay Area.

The common person, Which is most of the Bay Area. Knows Palo Alto is a very bad place and stay a way.

If you want to commit random Crimes, go to a place where you will most likely hurt someone who, DESERVES to be hurt. And the police mostlikely won't catch you, unless you are a stupid crook. They are just rich people who screw over all the one not in the MULTI MILLION Dollar club? Palo Altians just look down on people and are too rich for real justice. Many think.

It is called looking at the real world.
You did it to yourselfs. Now pay the piper.

Being better liers and people who have little need for real truth or justice does not make one very well liked?
Might even make you a target?

Funny Palo Alto is the RICHEST break the law, screw anyone over mess that I know of. Now that is something to be proud of?

But I am the only one who thinks that way? Yea read the post, Moving to Palo Alto? Oh the others do not count? I know the story.

It is just one or two people who think that way. WAKE UP!!!

Palo Alto the SETTLEMENT CAPITAL of AMERICA. Its a matter of pride!

Feel safe? You should'nt.

Like this comment
Posted by fireman really isn't
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 22, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Why don't you send the Palo Alto Daily, the Post and the Weekly a documented list of all your grievances so they could investigate all the wrongdoing your non-stop conspiratorial theory claims.

You seem to have nothing constructive to add, just complaint after conspiratiorial complaint.

Why not quit whining about it, curtail the drivel and actually take some steps to put out the figurative "fires" you claim are all over the place.

If you're a real fireman, I't think you'd actually want to do something constructive.

Like this comment
Posted by Fireman Really IS
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2008 at 4:12 pm

To Fireman Really Isn't -

Fireman really was a fireman here for many years here. He was one of the youngest to enter the program.

When he was required to lie and participate in covering to keep his job, it went against his moral principals.

He felt it was wrong to leave people stranded in the flood to go to sand bag up the city managers home.
He once told the FD to lock up their narcotics. They didn't, and they were ultimately stolen, and then the theft was covered. He saw the city waste millions of dollars on programs and equipment which was never used, then they were asked to cover for this to council.

He doesn't lie, and has no reason to lie.

He injured he shoulder and back while on duty, and can no longer work. He needs a shoulder replacement, but the city would not pay for it, and gave him the run around. Believe it. Sometimes injuries are not immediately apparent, until a few years later. As you age, the injuries may progress, and hurt more.
He has no insurance, lost his home, and his career.

He sustained an injury while lifting a body from under a home through the small opening where a dishwasher was installed.

His stories are true.

Firemen is right, the city staff has lied so much to past councils, to get away with all kinds of stuff over the years.

Employees need citizen groups to stand up for them. He did not have that, but he certainly deserved it.

The Children's Theater employees were lucky to be in the public eye, and had many people pulling for them.

Firemen and other public workers do not know many of us citizens to stand up for them.

We should have been there to stand up for fireman, but he did not know how to ask us for help.

We should have been there for him.

Employees (who are often not residents), need to know that we are here to stand up for them, so they will not have to endure what fireman went through.

Let him post. Yes, he is angry. If it bothers you, just read over them, and count your blessings that you can lift your arm up high enough to brush your teeth without enduring agony. Count your blessings that you have a home, medical insurance, and a career.

Like this comment
Posted by just thinkin'
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Again Firebrat over-rides the thread and makes it about him.

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Posted by Fireman Really Is
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2008 at 4:32 pm

What bomb was brought back to in City Hall that exploded?

I can believe this

Aren't a third of the people living here lawyers?

Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2008 at 8:16 pm

I'm told you were a complainer from the beginning of your employment with the City.
You got into a beef with the city because they mistakenly overpaid you and wanted the money back-you raised so much loud hell in the payroll department that they had to call a cop up there.
You hated the fire chief so you quit your job then had second thoughts and asked for your job back.They told you you could come back but with some stipulations- among them were pay back the money you owe and see a counselor to help work through your anger.You didn't live up to your end, so you didn't get your job back.If you had an industrial injury and resigned before making sure it would be taken care of, that was not smart on your part.End of story.

Like this comment
Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2008 at 7:37 am

Anonymous. Use that to stand up with the Council. Then lets see the FACTS. I have them.

Lie about the Cop, Find him, They let you lie. Bold faced lie.

Did my year and more.

Just like Pat she had time to go to the Dr. While the City was trying to hang her.

I feel so bad for you. Have to hide under Anonymous, And tell lies.

Be a man. Get to City Hall. Write what you have said down and Lets have this talked during a City Council meeting. In front of the public. You are so sad. Lie and hide!

Like this comment
Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2008 at 8:16 am

I was a good City Employee. Good Firefighter/Paramedic. Even when I was Injuried and the Union President talked me out of going to the Hospital. He was fearful that the Council would stop funding the Medics on Bikes program?

Tape it,put ice on it. I show up to play.

Fireman really isnt. I did. It is in the BOOK. Ask Jay?

Ask Jay the Editor of this paper.

I had 6 present Firefighters. 4 captains linned up to talk with the paper.

Funny Anonymous. Think back. Remember the Palo Alto firefighter/Captian who posted. "I did not follow the SYSTEM?"

I think he said yes you where a good firefighters?

Complainer. I know helping my fellow employee's, citizens and the fire service stop the lieing and stealing. Hopeing the public could learn about what really goes on here. Is Complainning to the PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOO MUCH TO HIDE. Like who they are for starters. weak!

We City Employee's bendover backwards for this CITY, everyday!
We City Employee's take a beating trying to help the Citizens. EVERYDAY!

Hey Anonymous would you like to see the letter from the City to my Counceler. The one I saw for a year, The one I paid to see. My money!
Want to see the program the City asked her to set up. That was set up. For my return! I was told 2 times I will be coming back.

I wanted Hr to help the Fire Department. It was getting/ had gotten so bad something had to be done. I asked them to use me as a tool to help all the firefighters. Use my problems with the Job and the department to help others. Stop the Craziness.

HR was ,and is out to get anyone who does not play the Cities Game.

You are so said have to hide and tell lies, Then hen you are asked to show your facts.
Get a backbone, bring your FACTS or whatever you want to call them. And lets go to the COUNCIL.

They will help you. The City will help you.
It is just me.

I use my name.
I use the FACTS.
Funny I try to keep working. I do not want to go to any doctors. I just wanted to do my TIME and retire.

Not fight the lowest form of City Government in the Not so Free World.

To fearful or to disgraceful to use your name. Anonymous.
I never COMPLAINED, How do you think things got so bad for me?

I should have complainned. I wish I would have complainned.
You will see a Firefighters who is retired on a injury just like mine, Well his is not as bad as mine is. Yet. 2 years on disability?
Sitting home and not being able to do his job. Costing the City 2 years overtime for his position?

I can not lose my Common Sense to play the Cities game. I will not lie to help this city cover up. I will not see or not see what the want me too. I will not stand by and let people tear the Fire Service down. I will not let scumbags run lose in the IAFF. I am A FIREFIGHTER. 24hrs a day, forever!
I will stand up for my fellow firefighters and use my name. I do not drop the hoseline and run for the door? I will not stab my fellow Firefighter in the BACK, NO MATTER HOW BIG THE REWARD!

I thought the CITY COULD?WOULD do the right thing. I thought that the Citizens care and are not stupid. I thought the truth counts for something?
That is where I MADE THE BIGGEST MISTAKE. I hope it is only in Palo Alto. If this is how people think and act, utside Palo Alto.
There really is no hope then for anyone or thing.
This is so sad, That my life has gotten to fighting people like the ones who ran loose in the City of Palo Alto. So sad that this can happen to the public and people who work for this City.

Thanks, For all your support. I know you must be silent my friends. Thanks.

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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2008 at 8:32 am

Fireman really is'nt.

How simple do you think it is to do something" POSITIVE " In the City of Palo Alto?

With the type of leaders here? Imposible?

The best I can do is get my story out. Let people see the real City of Palo Alto and its version of the FIRE SERVICE. THIS WHOLE STORY IS MUCH BIGGER THAN JUST THE CITY OF PALO ALTO.

This is all the City left me. I do not hide like so many others.
Spineless, Guttless, Liars. People who need to hide!

Why would that be??

The bomb in the backpack. Funny the paper did not say explode?
But when the PD officers being seen in stanford ER. Tell you thier ears are ringing and they can not hear you?
I think it went ..... BANG!!!!!, BOOM or something like that...... I know this is Palo Alto?
So I do not know what happened. I think it is sfe to say.
It did not say. Palo Alto, Its a matter of Pride. Well maybe very loudly it did.

I hope to get it to the nation on You -tube..

Like this comment
Posted by get a life fireman
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2008 at 9:54 am

seriously fireman if you are that upset, deal with it another way. you're wasting all the unlimited internet space!

Like this comment
Posted by A C
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 23, 2008 at 11:28 am

If the suspected robber/killer drives, should the car he's driving be diclosed widely to public via radio, news, and all media. This way, we can hope someone, somewhere, will spot the suspect sooner or later, and called the authority.

Like this comment
Posted by A C
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 23, 2008 at 11:28 am

If the suspected robber/killer drives, should the car he's driving be diclosed widely to public via radio, news, and all media. This way, we can hope someone, somewhere, will spot the suspect sooner or later, and called the authority.

Like this comment
Posted by A C
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 23, 2008 at 11:29 am

If the suspected robber/killer drives, should the car he's driving be diclosed widely to public via radio, news, and all media. This way, we can hope someone, somewhere, will spot the suspect sooner or later, and called the authority.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike Sanderson
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jul 23, 2008 at 3:12 pm

The city needs to put more cops on the street, especially downtown to run the bums out of town. Everytime I go downtown with my family there is a large group of punk kids in Lytton Plaza smoking pot and drinking alcohol, with old men hitting on young girls. Who knows what terrible things are taking place there, and who are these disgusting old men hitting on 16-year old girls? I feel like knockin them out. All the kids are biking and skateboarding all over meanwhile, almost running over children and families trying to come downtown to get a bite to eat. What kind of an environment is this for poeple to come downtown. Nearly being run over by some pot smoking punk, just to get away to have some bum chase you down the street. The problem with homeless druggies is also getting out of control. Has anyone seen the type of people hanging out around the Palo Alto Hotel and "Opportunity Center" recently? Am I alone here? It looks to me like the only opportunity that place provides is the opportunity to live in Palo Alto for free, while doing grugs and harassing citizens downtown all day. I am fed up. If Palo Alto doesn't do something to clean up the basic quality of life issues in town I am seriously considering moving my family out of here. I could care less about all the green initiatives and public art projects, not to mention international political issues the city council wastes out time and money on. Get the streets fixed, get downtown cleaned up, build new city buildings/facilities/infrastructure. Get a clue.

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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Mike. You feel like I do. And look at what the City leaders do. Waste all the funding to do what you ask for. What you already paid for.
It would be much more of a simple real reachable goal to get the CLUELESS out of City Government First. How can the programs to help,fix what you see happen, when all the money gets wasted and all the programs get so screwed up that they never work. And you paid for it, they tell you ,you have it. But it really does not work. So they spend there time getting huge perks from the city,homes,loans. And let the real work,like the 11 year old fire plan. SIT.
Mike I have seen too much. And it will make any person with a clue or common sense sick. CRAZY!

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Posted by Teacher mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 23, 2008 at 6:15 pm

I think fireman needs his own thread.

I agree that the economy is the reason for the spike in crime. I've seen the trend for the 30 years i've lived here. We have a lot of robberies on our street when the economy is bad. We're near easy access of the bike bridge and we don't have enough street lights on our culdesac (so it's really dark at night). I've also seen more police downtown on bikes, which has also helped me feel safer. I think times are tough and it's hard to keep anyone good in a public service job when it's so expensive to live here.We have a big dog who looks mean and a little dog who barks at everything, so that keeps us feeling safe.

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Posted by Eric Stietzel
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 23, 2008 at 9:13 pm

If you're looking for freedoms lost, try flying for starters. Then think about the freedom to be proud of your country that now tortures. Take a look at Web Link or the original if you like typing

If the President condones waterboarding, and he has admitted we have done it, and there is not a great public outcry, it is clear that moral rot has spread pretty much throughout society.

Someone suggested corporal punishment. What a wonderful lesson to teach our children! If I'm bigger than you, and you do something I don't like or don't do something I want you to, then it's o.k. to hit them.

It's always useful to blame others in "neighboring communities". "They should have family values in their homes." "Fathers should be more responsible.", etc. There's a question asked by a wise man some years ago that I think is worth considering before judging others, individually or as a community: "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" What have we nice, polite, well-to-do, mostly white Palo Altans (and our peers across the country) done to create the social environment we live in today? What can we do to change it? For change it we must, or the situation will only get worse.

For example, a recent report said 25% of California students don't complete high school. If you compare California to other states, it is clear that we are very near the bottom on almost every measure when it comes to our schools. It is fair to say that we don't care about our schools, and if we don't care, clearly the students won't care.

We really don't much care about our community in general, I think, and we certainly don't care about the neighbors. Do you suppose checkpoints on all the overpasses on 101 might be a help? Or maybe we need them on the freeway off ramps as well.

We don't live in an us vs. them world any more. We can start by expanding the circle of us to Neighborhood Watch programs, but we also need to start figuring out what really separates us from them and work at breaking down those barriers. We are all genetically traceable to one small group of humans in Africa. We actually are brothers and sisters. If we keep this in mind instead of damning whole communities for the behavior of a few, we can probably solve the problem.

It won't happen tomorrow, of course, and it won't be easy because some of those "thems" out there think we're them and very bad thems indeed. Those barriers of hatred and disrespect need to be breached, and that won't happen by trying to throwing more hate and disrespect at them than they can at us.

Attitudes are hard to change, but changing ours is easier than changing those of other people.

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Posted by Dave
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 23, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Gee Eric, thanks for straightening us all out on the crime problem in town.

I had gone merrily along thinking it was the criminals who are responsible for the crime. Who would have thought that it was our own attitudes towards these criminals, and society itself that is to blame for our crime wave. Oh...and George Bush of course...but that goes without saying in Palo Alto, where you can find at least a plurality blaming Bush for almost any problem.

We are sure lucky that we have smart guys like you to set us straight when our thinking goes wrong.

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