Seeking to teach residents to make safe choices if confronted by a robber or burglar, the Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN) group is hosting a crime-safety class Tuesday (March 22).
The class will cover the nature of residential burglaries and robberies, what to do when answering the door, protecting vehicles and valuables, security recommendations, how to be a good witness and how to start a neighborhood crime-watch group.
Kenneth Dueker, the city's coordinator of homeland security and public outreach, is one of the instructors, said Annette Glanckopf, chair of PAN's emergency prep.
Interest in crime prevention is growing, in light of the recent spike in violent robberies in Palo Alto, according to Glanckopf.
"More and more people wanted to learn to be safe," Glanckopf said, referring to requests PAN received.
Since September 2010, 21 armed robberies have taken place in residential neighborhoods, including in front of homes. At least 10 people have been arrested, some of whom were involved in more than one robbery, police said. Also, 47 residential burglaries have occurred since September, police spokeswoman Lt. Sandra Brown said.
A second class, on emergency preparedness, will be offered the same evening. The workshop is a starting point to prepare for an earthquake or other disaster -- of particular relevance in the aftermath of the recent Japanese quake and tsunami, Glanckopf said.
"We've had so many wake-up calls," Glanckopf said of the recent crime wave and natural disaster affecting the Pacific.
Class attendees will learn how to make a plan, build a kit, identify vulnerabilities to a number of potential emergencies and be prepared for emergencies such as fire, flood, earthquake and pandemic influenza, she said.
PAN also offers a number of other classes throughout the year, including damage assessment after an earthquake and how to use a two-way radio to communicate with city and volunteer first responders. The group also assists with the citywide block-preparedness training program.
The Tuesday (March 22) crime safety and personal-preparedness classes will take place at Friends Meeting Hall, 957 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto, back building. Crime Safety begins at 7 p.m.; Personal Preparedness begins at 8 p.m. The free classes are one hour each. Persons wanting to attend should RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on other classes is available at the PAN website.
A block-preparedness class will be offered April 23, along with the damage assessment and radio classes, at Foothill Auditorium, Room IA, at Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.
On May 1, the Palo Alto/Stanford Citizen Corps Safety Faire will offer demonstrations, speakers and exhibitors from noon to 4 p.m. at Stanford Shopping Center. The free event covers how to prepare for earthquake, flood, wildfire, extended power outage, chemical spills, evacuations, pandemic influenza, food and water shortages and financial and communications shutdowns.
The faire is sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly, PaloAltoOnline.com, the City of Palo Alto, Palo Alto Police Department, Palo Alto Utilities, Stanford and Lucile Packard hospitals, the American Red Cross, Stanford Shopping Center, U.S. Geological Survey and the American Institute of Architects.