Palo Alto police report spike in residential burglaries

Authorities looking for burglary suspect

Fifteen residential burglaries in Palo Alto were reported to the police in September, an increase in crimes that appears to be occurring in the city's southern neighborhoods, according to a police department press release.

Despite September's spike, the overall number of residential burglaries this year is lower: Ninety-eight took place in the first nine months of 2014 compared to 108 cases during the same period in 2013, according to police.

Police have developed a sketch of a man seen leaving a home that was robbed on Sept. 24 on the 3000 block of Cowper Street. Between 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m., a burglar removed a screen from an open and unlocked bathroom window, entered, ransacked the home and stole jewelry, cash and small electronic items. A witness saw the man walk away from the residence and enter a tan sedan parked nearby.

There is no evidence that the man is responsible for other recent burglaries, as burglars appear to be targeting homes in specific areas, according to police. Recent burglaries have taken place on Cowper and Webster streets, Greer and Louis roads and others in or around the 3000 to 3500 blocks.

Police are encouraging people to report suspicious behavior by calling 9-1-1.

Anymore with information pertaining to the burglaries are asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent via text to 650-383-8984.

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6 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2014 at 3:44 pm

It's good to see the police releasing this kind of information in such a public way, even though it's close to an election.

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that any of the candidates will address crime in Palo Alto--since that seems to be a taboo topic for sitting council members, as well as candidates.

Certainly it would be a good time to ask the incumbents what they have done to reduce crime in Palo Alto since they were elected. And in like kind, it would be great to ask each challenger what they will do to reduce crime in Palo Alto in the coming years.

No doubt the issue of a new police station will arise along the way. Every candidate should be asked directly: "How will a new police station reduce crime in Palo Alto?"

Or maybe a question or two on the use of surveillance cameras would be appropriate.

It couldn't hurt to ask some targeted questions about crime in our town, could it?

3 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2014 at 7:51 pm

One more reason to have a CCW in Santa Clara County

4 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 30, 2014 at 9:21 pm

If we let the the police department get license plate readers, this guy could be in jail by now.

1 person likes this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm

In August several police officers claimed PAPD had a ticket quota, and the quota policy was diverting police officers from more important duties like patrolling residential neighborhoods to prevent burglaries.

The chief of police and the police officer's union investigated the claims, and said there was no quota, and residential burglaries were "down". Ticket quotas are illegal in the state of California, so I found it odd that these claims of illegality (made by police officers) were investigated by the chief of police and the police officers union, instead of a grand jury.

"Palo Alto police deny ticket-quota allegations"
Palo Alto Weekly ~ Aug 14, 2014 Web Link

1 person likes this
Posted by James Girand
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2014 at 10:54 am

The police department could help all residents by posting a map showing the general location, i.e., the block where the 15 burglaries in September occurred so we (and they) could look for patterns in the most susceptible neighborhoods.

5 people like this
Posted by No license plate readers!
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2014 at 11:18 am

Locking all windows and doors, including upstairs, may help. Alarm systems with cameras and dogs are added extra security. Just my $0.02

It's not like the "good old days" when you could leave your windows open all night on a hot summer night...

Like this comment
Posted by Raymond
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2014 at 11:26 am

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm

The police department HAS a license plate reader I believe. Of course, they also profile anybody driving a crappy car. They did it to me even though my registration comes back to my Palo Alto address.

3 people like this
Posted by POW
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm

I refuse to be a prisoner in my own home with locked windows, guard dogs, alarm systems, cameras, sensors, walls, etc. A CCW would be nice but I don't need one to protect my bacon in my home. A call to 911, being alert, a war, and 40 years education with firearms is good. Prisoners say their biggest fear is to encounter an armed homeowner.

2 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Mayfield
on Oct 1, 2014 at 3:11 pm

@James, anyone can sign up at and you get a weekly map with locations of police action. If you click on the location, you get information on the type of activity: theft, burglary, traffic stop, etc.

Also, Palo Alto police post police news on a number of social media: Twitter, Nixle, Nextdoor, Facebook, etc. and they also send information to a mobile app. Check out this link to get the information that you need:

Web Link

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