Town Square

Post a New Topic

82-year-old woman attacked in Palo Alto

Original post made on Sep 15, 2008

An 82-year-old woman was attacked and robbed while walking on Newell Avenue near Greenwood Avenue Sunday morning, Agent Dan Ryan said Monday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 15, 2008, 1:07 PM

Comments (32)

Posted by sally, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2008 at 1:35 pm

This is the 3rd robbery this month of a pedestrian in the old Palo Alto neighborhood. The cops spend most of their patrol time downtown, but I think they need to spend more time in other parts of the city now.

Posted by carlos, a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 15, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Is it just me who is getting the impression that the city council is spending more time discussing welfare-like programs like below-market-rate housing rather than addressing the recent wave of violent crime in the city? I honestly haven't seen any initiatives to tackle the crime problem since it started getting violent and commonplace a few months ago.

Posted by Council Spokeswoman, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2008 at 1:49 pm

" ... I honestly haven't seen any initiatives to tackle the crime problem since it started getting violent and commonplace a few months ago."

That may be true, but have you checked out our Global Climate Change Policy or our new Below Market Rate Housing plans? We don't have time to worry about mundane pettiness like street crime and pothole filling when we have these much more important issues to address.

Posted by Adam, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 15, 2008 at 2:18 pm

When your a METH Head, you will do anything to get your next fix. METH use is sharply on the rise. This type of crime is happening in all the bayarea.

People do need to watch there surroundings.

Posted by dont hate, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 15, 2008 at 2:22 pm


papd has set up specific patrols in the neighborhood of the robberies during "popular" times (i.e. at night on cal ave where the first two took place, etc.)

Posted by Bart, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm

If you think the crime problem is bad now, just wait until they build the 1500+ new below market housing units that the Council seems headed toward approving at the behest of ABAG.

Posted by Bart, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 15, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Before you politically correct liberals get all worked up: yes, I am saying that poor people commit more crime than wealthy or middle class people. Bring more poor people into our neighborhoods, and we'll have more crime.

Posted by Bart, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 15, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Web Link

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I love the way some people think the City Council can magically do something about crime, they can't. Don't go walking alone, carry a cell phone, be very aware of your surroundings and don't go for a walk after dark. Or if you're really frightened just stay home. There isn't going to be a Police Officer on every block to protect you. Life is a gamble anyway - enjoy!!!

Posted by Sampson, a resident of The Greenhouse
on Sep 15, 2008 at 2:37 pm

I think the recent perpetrators of crime in Palo Alto are expressing a legitimate protest against the feebleness of the city's Global Warming policies. This line of argument seems to have worked in Britian. Web Link

So maybe the Council is responsible for crime - just not in the way you might immediately think.

Posted by Willy, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 15, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Speaking of Britain, London just allowed sharia law in certain cases. Maybe we should institute the chopping off of hands of thieves.

Good bye to Britain as we knew it....

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2008 at 6:37 pm

This is shocking and we need a visible police presence in our neighborhoods if such things are happening at the location above - one would normally never dream of such a crime occurring there!

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2008 at 4:27 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Video recording of major intersections, with volunteer watchers, might take away some of the anonymity that these halbstarks rely on. License plate readers can help develop patterns. The cop on the beat is not coming back at today's prices, but the watchman is here.

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2008 at 6:28 am

Could the newspaper please post a map showing the location of all the recent muggings and attacks (say, in the last 6-12 months). That would be a great service to all of us!

Posted by Report Reader, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 16, 2008 at 7:29 am

Concerned: There's a tool to let you produce such a map at Web Link

Posted by FYI, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:04 am

FYI 1:

Web Link

FYI 2:

I saw a police car driving slowly near Rinconada Park around 8AM this morning. Feel safer.

Posted by Palo Alto neighbor, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:05 am

Actually, the best available tool is the new service offered by the PAPD:
Web Link

You can specify the type of crime, the dates, the location and more as you do the search.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:10 am

Yes there are some social issues related to crime, but the problem sits right on the police department's shoulders. When is the last time you had a police officer "patroling" your neighborhood? I mean driving slowly through your neighborhood at 12 mph, waiving and talking to neighbors. This type of patrol helps the neighbors feel better but it also shows the "bag guys" that there is a police presence. The police have everyone convinced they are too busy.....what a joke. Palo Alto police have plenty of time, just sign up for a citizen ride-along and you will see all of the down time. It all starts at the top and Johnson must go

Posted by Judy, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:19 am

Has anyone tried to call the police for anything? If you call, the people who answer do everything they can to tell you that the police are too busy or that "it's not a crime". So, what happens is that citizens stop calling. At 5:00 in the morning I noticed two people working together: one on foot and one in a car, with the car driving slowly behind the person on foot. They were going through the neighborhood looking into cars and checking the doors to see if they were unlocked. They even went onto driveways checking cars. Lets not forget that they were also wearing dark clothing, dark stocking cap, looking around and driving a car that had registration that was 6-8 years expired. Guess what? They told me it wasn't a crime and wouldn't come out. So, I will never call the police again. If you can't call the police for this, then when can you call. Shame on our police department

Posted by Mr. BBQ, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:35 am

Wish I made the money/benefits the police make! I would never of gone to college. On the plus side they did come out to my house and issued a ticket for parking the wrong direction. This proves they are out in my neighborhood and looking for law breakers.

I have little respect for the men/women in blue!

Posted by shocked, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:40 am

The real problem is that the people of Palo Alto put up with this. What are the stats on crimes solved in PA? Times are changing if we need more money for more patrols then that is what we need - libraries can wait. Property values, being ranked 4th in housing cost, etc. etc. all these things that people on these posts are so preoccupied won't mean a thing if this continues. I have no doubt that PA is for now a relatively safe place, but attacking an 82 year old woman at 10:00 in the MORNING, in a safe neighborhood is as CRAZY as someone being murdered in front of City Hall.

Posted by Sue, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Bob is correct. Chief Johnson has to go. During her reign, the credibility of the PAPD has gone waaaay down. In addition, our streets are a mess, crime is up, and our City Council is so green it ought to take TUMS. It is 'so out of it'. Climate change is not the residents' first priority - even our tenth. It is overcrowding, housing going up everywhere, traffic, overcrowded schools, lack of affordable retail stores, escalating crime, crumbling streets, overpaid employees, outrageous employee benefits and perks, a bloated city employee staff, employees who are not residents and couldn't care less except for a paycheck, and poor planning. It takes forever to get anything done around here. The new city manager's first job is to clean house from top to bottom.As for civic engagement. What a joke. That means that only the 'in crowd' talks to the council - the developers, the construction crowd, and the environmentalists - and the almighty Stanford. Let's face it. Each council is worse than the last one.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2008 at 1:09 pm


Whereas I wholeheartedly agree with your list of priorities, I feel that most of this can't be blamed on Johnson, try as we might. I do feel however that you have it right in the second part of your post. The City council is too open to listen to small minority groups and interests and Stanford in particular. We need to get them to get back to the bread and butter issues and leave the rest until such time as we have a city with infrastructure we can be proud of. Something tells me, that such a time will not exist for a long time if ever.

Posted by Senor Blogger, a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 16, 2008 at 2:01 pm

The Surpreme Court just ruled that we all have the right to possess semi automatic Handguns.

So go do it and see if there isn't increased police patrols.

Posted by What a Joke, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Please, Palo Alto's problems are not because of Stanford! Palo Alto wouldn't be here if it weren't for Stanford - so don't go after something that is one of the biggest draws to Palo Alto!

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2008 at 9:08 am

It's true the police can't be everywhere all the time. But the police must do five things immediately:

First the police must find a way to let the bad guys know Palo Alto is closed for business. This means patrol time in the neighborhoods, stepping out of the car, talking to people and showing low tolerance for bad behavior.

Second the police must let the community know they're on the ball. They need to let us know what measures they're taking to prevent and solve muggings and other crime. They must stop telling us they have better things to do than respond to crime reports. They must get out of their cars and talk to residents. Perhaps we can agree to give them a few weeks off from leaf blowers, school bikes and residents' wrong-way cars in front of their houses.

Third the police chief either needs to speak out publicly about what she's doing or she should move on to a less public role in life.

Fourth she must let the community know her approach to policing. Does she believe in and practice preventive policing?

Finally if the department is understaffed or underresourced, the chief must let the community know what the hiring issue is and what she's doing about it. Are we having more trouble recruiting than Menlo Park and Mountain View? Is the issue competitive Peninsula salaries, working conditions, union rules, management priorities?

What the residents see is a violent crime uptick and a police department that's advising us to stay indoors.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2008 at 9:21 am

httpWeb Link From KTVU today.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2008 at 9:28 am

I am not sure of that link is working now, but KTVU reports that PA police are increasing foot patrols due to the increase in street crimes.

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 17, 2008 at 9:50 am

A few years ago when we had an escalation of crime, the then mayor - I think it was Judy Kleinberg - went all out to put an end to it. The city enlisted the help of and trained Public Works and Utilities employees in the field, park gardeners, postal workers, UPS drivers - anyone who was outside and had a cell phone, even bus drivers. Residents' help was enlisted to be the eyes and ears - and keep their cell phones ON. I hope that our City Council and Mayor will come down off their 'green cloud' and tend to serious business.

Posted by To: Judy, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 17, 2008 at 11:03 am

When I've seen suspicious activity in my neighborhood, I exaggerate what's going on in order to get the police out. I'll say that I think a car is being stolen, that someone is breaking into a car, that type of thing, even though, in truth, I think EPA police are very responsive.

Posted by Chuck, a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Judy, Your tactic for getting the poice to respond is not only dangerous (there could be a real emergency elsewhere that has to wait while they responde to your exageration), but is also a crime:

148.5. (a) Every person who reports to any peace officer listed in
Section 830.1 or 830.2, or subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, the
Attorney General, or a deputy attorney general, or a district
attorney, or a deputy district attorney that a felony or misdemeanor
has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a

Call the right number, tell them what is really happening and you will get the appropriate response. If you don't call the Chief and make a complaint. Everyone must be held accountable, even you.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 23, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Aside from complaining about the police and rising crime rate, have any of you done anything simple and passive to help deal with the situation? Do you have motion-activated lights functioning on your house and looking over your driveways? Have you installed a cheap video survellance system around your house to watch your house and the neighbors? Are you still parking your car with one tire on the sidewalk to make it easy for someone to crawl underneath to remove your catalytic converter? How many shrubs and trees around your house make great hiding spots for prowlers? Are you even just smiling and waving cheerfully at the police that do happen to drive by to make them feel happy they came past?

I will not advocate buying a gun, mace or pepper spray is enough and will get you into less trouble.

I would LOVE to see cameras pointed at the bridge on Newell that goes into EPA. The police called me last weekend asking for my footage there, they mixed up where I live. I wish I had collected the footage they wanted.

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

The dress code
By Jessica T | 21 comments | 1,866 views

September food and drink goings on
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,246 views

. . . People will never forget how you made them feel.
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,235 views

Two Days to Save This Dog?
By Cathy Kirkman | 15 comments | 1,233 views

It Depends... Disguising Real Characters in Fiction
By Nick Taylor | 0 comments | 399 views