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should Palo Alto photograph all cars coming in to town?

Original post made by tiburon on Nov 19, 2009

The city of Tiburon is going to start photographing all cars entering town. The photos will be stored by the police for 30 days and if a crime is committed in that time period, the police can use the photos to help identify suspects.

Palo Alto residents seem to be obsessed by criminals coming in from out of town. Should Palo Alto start photographing all visitors, just in case they later commit a crime?

Web Link

Comments (21)

Posted by Facts, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm

There are only two roads leading into Tiburon--how many streets lead into Palo Alto?

Posted by tiburon, a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:33 pm

So it will cost a little more. If we can keep the muggers out, why not?

Besides, there are not that many roads through Palo Alto. The city is mostly bordered by creeks and freeways.

Posted by Big scale, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:41 pm

There are a lot of roads leading into Palo Alto, but the key ones to photograph would be Newell Rd., University Ave./101, Embarcadero Rd./101, Oregon Expressway.

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:54 pm

And Middlefield and Alma - which is going to make El Camino very busy with all the diverted perp traffic. But for starters, the others are not a bad idea. Whatever it takes.

Posted by Brian, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 19, 2009 at 3:54 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by VoxPop, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:20 pm

I think border guards coupled with iris-scan based identification is the real answer.

Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Good idea, but we will need another dose of good old Palo Alto "traffic calming", and that will close down most all entry/exit roads, plus it will make the congestion so severe, not only plates, but faces can be photographed.

We will have to do something about the trains, buses and bicyclists though. Exit cameras on the trains and buses will work, bicyclists will be a little more difficult, but we could limit bicyclists to only spandex-clad riders on nothing less than a 5K bike.... I think that would do the trick.

OK, enough of "tongue-in-cheek" Something like this could actually be valuable, if they turned the photos over to ICE.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 1:40 am

I think putting video cameras up around the downtown area might help deter or solve some crimes. Not sure about just photographing cars coming into town.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 20, 2009 at 4:36 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Once you have the software, the hardware is a pittance. A suburb of Seattle has a similar setup, over the objections of people who believe here is a right to privacy in public, a foolish notion.

Posted by Iosif Jughashvili, a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm

"over the objections of people who believe here is a right to privacy in public, a foolish notion."

That is precisely the government's position in Iran also.

Posted by VoxPop, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Why not strip search everyone at the border? Then we'd really be safe from the others.

That this is taken seriously by even one person is an indication that the fearmongers have won. Palo Alto is not a high-crime city. Tiburon is admitedly not a high-crime city. Total waste of money.

Posted by get real, a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 20, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Rational people can see this is a good idea that will make PA safer.

What possible burden or infringement is it to have one's license plate photographed on a public roadway?

Hate to break it to you complainers, but your picture is being snapped at the ATM, the airport, most stores you enter... has this really led to strip searches, Iranian-style oppression or Hitler-style genocide? Get a little perspective, people!

Posted by Big Scale, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Yes, a recent movie called "Look" claims we are on camera 200 times per day: Web Link

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 20, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Great idea, the thugs who come to prey in Palo Alto do not use public transit, legs or bikes, they use cars, which are very easily identified.

We need very strict enforcement of DMV regulations re tags, equipment, insurance etc and local noise regulations re car music.
This will drive them away, hopefully for good.
Residents should also monitor strangers and report suspicious activity and install cameras on their property.
As we do with little cost.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2009 at 1:49 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

VoxPop and Iosif Jughashvili, public privacy is an oxymoron. Mao, Joe and Kim also mandated license plates, adherence to traffic rules and basic sanitary behavior.

Posted by Your Papers, Please!, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm

I say ring a 20-foot high concrete wall topped with barbed wire at the border with security cameras covering all areas and lasers set to stun upon any/all intruders, whether human or animal(those darn animals can be awfully sneaky!).

Then set up "Checkpoint Charlies" at designated access points which will be open to residents only; all others will be allowed entrance only after tracking devices are inserted into their necks. All such foreigners must spent at least $50 in the downtown area; failure to do so will result in their detention for hard labor to make up the difference.

Posted by Be Fair, a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 22, 2009 at 10:48 am

Bearing in mind that Palo Alto's city limits go right up to Skyline Blvd., there are more than 25 different exits and entrances that lead into and out of Palo Alto. To be fair, if you're going to put cameras as one main entrance like Oregon you'll have to put them at all entrances and exits even if they only lead into Los Altos Hills.

Incidentally, all the roads leading up to Skyline Blvd are patrolled by our Police Department.

Posted by VoxPop, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 22, 2009 at 7:44 pm

No one who favors this intrusive procedure seems to have considered the cost. At a time when city, county, and state budgets are being slashed, who will pay for it? Where should it rank on the list of projects that will be paid for? How about a reality check here.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 22, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Sometimes it does cost a bit to be safe and I call that money well spent. Perhaps some city money can be redirected to cameras, and ensuring the safety of residents. I suggest the funds for the proposed Beasley sculpture be funneled to public safety. How many residents would prefer this to a hideous hunk of concrete? (And while we're at it, let's put the fugly "Go Momma" to work by installing a camera within this dubious work of art. I could better tolerate this monstrosity if it was working for the public good.)

As for the naysayers--I think law abiding residents of Palo Alto and nearby communities would not mind, even welcome cameras. I recently watched video of chavs in London threatening and attacking a reporter. (I'm happy to say the reporter got in a really good punch.) The police carted off the criminals and the footage will be used to convict the creeps. I very much doubt the man attacked considered the camera recording his assault "intrusive." Let's follow England's lead.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2009 at 9:53 pm

It costs $45,000/year to keep a criminal in state prison.

Research as I might, but I can't find an average cost of the legal process required to get the criminal into state prison. I think all would agree, it's easily over 6 figures.

$45,000 would buy an awful lot of cameras, and if even one crime were deterred by one of those cameras, we would be money ahead.

Posted by tiburon, a resident of another community
on Nov 23, 2009 at 9:36 am

The biggest item in the Palo Alto budget is public schools, so just take some money from that pot. The big egging controversy proves that those kids are way to coddled. Cut the fluff out of the school budget and get back to hard core eduction.

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