Palo Alto's Office of Emergency Services will host a virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday to discuss crime trends in the city, preventive measures for car and home burglaries, and tips on avoiding fraud and cyber or financial crimes.
The one-hour Zoom meeting will feature a panel of city detectives and officers, including Assistant Police Chief Andrew Binder, and will be moderated by Ken Dueker, chief of the Office of Emergency Services.
"A lot of the stuff is common sense," Dueker said.
Some of the tips will address crimes such as auto burglaries and catalytic converter thefts — an issue not unique to Palo Alto but one that does happen regularly in the city. Between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12, police logged 16 cases of stolen catalytic converters, an emissions-reducing device often found on the underside of hybrid cars like Toyota Priuses, according to city police report logs.
To prevent these crimes, officers might suggest simple but effective preventive measures such as leaving the car inside the garage, Dueker said.
The panel will also discuss deterrents that residents can invest in to protect against home burglaries. Last month, the city increased overnight patrols in response to a series of burglaries or attempted burglaries within a two-week span. The city's blog also released a list of safety tips in response to the burglaries, which can be found here.
"These cases are extremely rare, so this is a very unusual and concerning crime trend," the city blog states.
Measures to prevent auto and home burglaries include installing motion-detector lights that activate when someone walks by a home or doorbell surveillance cameras, Dueker said.
Meeting attendees can also email questions to the panel in advance — by Nov. 16 at noon.
The "Crime Trends & Public Safety Prevention Tips" meeting is a part of a series of educational briefings hosted by the Office of Emergency Services. Though these meetings are not in response to an uptick of any particular crime, according to Dueker, they serve as a reminder to the community of the steps that can be taken to maintain a safe neighborhood.
"A lot of people feel it's a safe area we live in," Dueker said. "But that doesn't mean we have zero risk."
The virtual meeting, available through this link, will be hosted on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. and will be open to everyone. To submit a question, email Amanda Bates at [email protected] For more information, view the Police Department's Nixle alert.