Woman robbed while walking downtown

A woman walking in downtown Palo Alto late Friday night was robbed by a man who placed an object at her neck and demanded her purse.

The woman was walking in the 400 block of Hamilton Avenue at 10:50 p.m. when she saw a man approach her from the opposite direction who then grabbed her from behind, Police Agent Dan Ryan said.

Police increased patrols in the downtown area as a result of the late Friday night attack.

The man was described as African-American, 6-feet tall, weighing 170 pounds and wearing a white T-shirt and long, black shorts. He was described as having short hair and was clean-shaven.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department tip-line at 650-329-2190.

-- Don Kazak


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Posted by Lina
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 22, 2008 at 1:30 pm

So now when I see an African American walking in my residential neighbourhood I feel an urge to run, though I am ashamed of this mental link. Call it profiling or whatever, but the likelihood of him being here for other than checking out potential victims is rather low. I feel sorry for all law abiding black people that has the stigma now. But we all calculate our risks....

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Posted by Realist, not Racist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2008 at 2:45 pm

My daughter didn't want to "profile" two black males going down our street the other day. She tries, like I do, to not judge people by their color or race. Later that night we heard that two bikes were stolen from the front yard of a house down the street. Coincidence? I doubt it. What a shame.

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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2008 at 3:34 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Reformist
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2008 at 3:36 pm

The law does not allow preventive measures such as random check of suspicious people by enforcement officers. As a result, criminal intent is allowed to take root at the expense of innocent victims. After the fact, if the criminal is identified and arrested at all, he/she would get the maximum protection under the same law. Is it any wonder random street crime in Palo Alto and else where is on the rise?

Increase patrols? What would that do? The police should put in undercover operations to bait those with criminal intent.

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Posted by caucasian grandma of black grandchildren
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2008 at 5:28 pm

wow! let's assume black males are criminal? you would do well not to do that with my grandchildren. They will walk the neighborhood when they visit as it is their right and don't you dare assuming that "they" stole your bikes. If you do a federal criminal complaint of civil rights violation will be filled against you
I have seen plenty of steeling from caucasian and many times well off kids.....
If you feel that your mind has to vomit whatever mean and racist thoughts you have any time you have them the least you could do is to be truthful.....

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Posted by dan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 22, 2008 at 5:42 pm

growing up in Manhattan in the 1970's, I developed a pretty good sense of who was out for trouble. You can't change your race, but you *can* decide what to wear, how to talk, your body language, etc. I feel no shame at all profiling people on that basis.

One time my profiling failed, and I was mugged by a white man in a suit. His friend in the nearby car had a gun pointed at me.

BTW wasn't there another mugging here near Lucy Stearn?

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Posted by Cami
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Criminals and good people come in all colors. Please don't feel any more afraid walking through a neighborhood of mostly African Americans than you do walking through a mostly white neighborhood.

Palo Alto is full of good people-- calm yourselves. This is sad, but doesn't mean you should starting judging your neighbors.

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Posted by too much
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2008 at 11:34 pm

I have said it before and I will say it again...things like these did not happen so often with other police chiefs that gave a damn. I hope the new City Manager gets rid of Lynne Johnson. She has done absolutely NOTHING since she became chief except for praising Mike Yore's botched investigation of the children's theater. Put Dennis Burns in charge! He is a REAL cop that will solve, or at least look into the City's recent crime problems. Johnson has been behind a desk since the 80's. She does not know what being a cop is about and wouldn't know how to solve a crime if OJ walked into her office to confess. GET RID OF HER!!

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Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:41 am

If you use numbers to prove discrimination then you must allow numbers to prove tendencies.
Was it Jesse Jackson who said he was nervous when the footsteps behind him were by young Blacks?
Those Blacks who chose to confront rather than to conform are to blame for any profiling. As long as profiling does not lead to unwarranted arrests it is a legitimate law enforcement tool.

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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2008 at 11:27 am

Young male blacks and hispanics are on average poorer than their white and asian counterparts. Poverty breeds crime, thus, young male blacks and hispanics are much more likely to be criminals, and much less likely to live in (or belong in) Palo Alto. It may be racism, but it's the truth by simple probability.

Given how few young black or hispanic men live in my neighborhood, I don't see the issue in being wary when you see someone obviously out of place. Profiling works-I don't think that the police should be equally suspicious of elderly ladies and young men. If the police see an unfamiliar black or hispanic man at night aimlessly wandering the streets of downtown, I want them to question his intentions. That's not harassment, it's common sense.

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Posted by Mama
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jun 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm

How many African-Americans actually do reside in Palo Alto?

My husband's best friend lives in Alabama and is an educated, highly successful African-American. It is unfortunate that he said that he gets nervous when he is stopped by policemen. I have no bias against AAs, but again, it is difficult to resist profiling when PA is largely populated by whites and Asians. I saw a black youth running down our street wearing unlikely running clothes and should have called the police.

Sure, it would be a perfect society if we could trust everyone the same, but as said in posts above, look at the numbers.

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Posted by Late
a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Hey pretty Mama, what are the right clothes to wear when you're in a hurry?

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Jeffrey Skilling (of Enron) is white, isn't he? Wasn't his boss and Bush buddy Kenneth (Kenny-Boy) Lay also white? Both were convicted of crimes far graver than this.

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Posted by Mama
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jun 23, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Cami, walk down the worst street in EPA and then walk down a street in PA and tell me you feel just as safe in EPA.

Late, the "right clothes to wear when you are in a hurry" are NOT gansta clothes in a predominantly Caucasian/Asian neighborhood.

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Posted by Mama
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jun 23, 2008 at 7:55 pm

Paul, those were not violent crimes which could lead to exterior physical harm (sure, heart attacks and insanity, but not violent physical harm). Would you rather be in prison with the robber as a cellmate or an Enron man as your cellmate? Which would you fear more?

A great movie to watch about the subject of race is Edward Norton's American History X (1998):

Web Link

Norton received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2008 at 10:21 pm

So you think that causing people who trusted you to have heart attacks and go insane is a lesser crime than a small-time robbery that did not actually harm the victim? I'd choose the robber instead of you any day (or night).

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Posted by Kim
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2008 at 5:51 pm

The Liberals in this town welcome this type of crime. It's a direct result of the over exaggerated "tolerance" and fear of being considered "racist". Puulleeeaaase. It is what it is. The black guys that meander around the neighborhoods on bikes late at night aren't out on a leisurely stroll. They are casing your house and looking for things to steal in the meantime. That is what they do and the limp wristed white guilt residents just welcome it. These people KNOW this and that is why they continue to cross over 101 and do what they do. When a black person sees something they want, they take it. Call me Racist, I'll call you correct. I only became this way due to crap like this. They aren't fit for regular society. They just aren't. Particularly a nice, civilized society such as Palo Alto. Lock up your daughters!

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