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Palo Alto residential burglaries surge in 2012

Original post made on Aug 16, 2012

In a string of recent crimes that has become familiar in Palo Alto, thieves made off with $5,800 in electronics during a daytime residential burglary on Aug. 9. And once again, a window was left ajar, police said. ==B Related story:==
• [Web Link Tiffany necklace, iPads reported stolen from Steve Jobs' home]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 16, 2012, 4:19 PM

Comments (14)

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Posted by susie
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Sad, Old Palo Alto is gone. Safety. Smart liberal people. Engineers who put brain power above Money.

Now the schools are beholden to Tiger Mothers, [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] money rules the day at Facebook which is a media company not a technology company, and now burglars are terrorizing the neighborhoods.

That was a golden age. Welcome to the ratrace Palo Alto.

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Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

With the police department having to do more with less due to a string of budget/personnel cuts, it is truly imperative for everyone to take the essential precautions to reduce the chance of being targeted for a burglary. The vast majority of home burglaries take place during the day. Not only do we need to keep our doors and windows locked, but we must secure side gates and make it difficult for criminals to access our side and rear yards. Criminals prefer the side doors and windows so they're not seen from the sidewalk or street. That's why it's important to secure those access gates. Don't make it easy for them, harden the target, and keep an eye on the neighborhood and report any suspicious people or activity.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

> doing more with less ..

This is common belief of the police boosters in towns like Palo Alto, but there isn’t a lot of fact, or common sense, prevailing in statements like this one.

The police have resorted to a kind of “bunker mentality” concerning these home robberies. They have suggested that a locked window will keep burglars out of an home when the resident is out, suggesting it would seem, that a pry-bar, or a hammer, won’t open a locked window. The fact that these accesses made it easy for the crooks does not mean that these homes would not have been otherwise robbed.

The police have steadfastly ignored obvious technologies—such as home surveillance systems, as well as city-wide surveillance systems.

Comcast Home Security:
Web Link

Security Systems Review:
Web Link

We’re beginning to see video surveillance systems that are linked a person’s cell phone.

The police can not guarantee that these systems will protect homes, but they could at least test some of them out. The police can guarantee that the video footage will be acceptable to the police investigators and it will be used by the investigators. Right now, the police seem to not have any clearly published position on these systems.

There also is the issue of Palo Alto’s being so small that criminals can come here, spend five minutes robbing someone’s place, and be 50 miles away in an hour. Without fingerprints, or witnesses, what is are the police supposed to do? With the advent of GPS technologies being embedded in a lot of personal electronics, sometimes the perps get sloppy and the cops get lucky. But if the perps are slick, and disable the equipments locators, then the police have to wait until they make some other mistake—like trying to sell the stolen equipment to an undercover police officer, or they get caught up in a sting.

It’s not at all clear just how much cooperation is going on between the 50-100 agencies in the nearby communities. If this cooperation is not significant, then we would probably have to conclude that the police are doing less with more.

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Posted by Mr Jinks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:03 am

The city and the police could do more, I don't buy this budget cut theory. The city has a huge revenue and excessive taxes, rates are higher than many places. There are tons of worthless jobs that can be eliminated and we can then afford to keep the police strong. If something isn't done soon this whole situation is going to get messy. It's time to get off their duff and get this problem handled! M Jinks, Crescent Park

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Posted by huh?
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 17, 2012 at 8:10 am

Joe you want the police to be in the business of endorsing commercial products and installing them in homes? That's nuts. I have one and I think it would greatly help if anything ever happened to my house. I don't need nor want anyone to do it for me, there's enough "big brother" around. I see the common sense/facts you say are lacking. It goes, budget cuts, staffing cuts, etc, rise in burglaries. I would bet any pictures you could provide the police would be appreciated, not opposed. The bunker mentality is common sense too. But way to put a spin on it. Maybe we should look in the mirror for once, then outside. How many of us sit on our front porch anymore? We should all be reporting anything suspicious we see.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2012 at 8:58 am

> you want the police to be in the business of endorsing
> commercial products and installing them in homes?

No, nor did I endorse that idea.

What I did endorse is the idea that there are now state-of-the-art surveillance systems for residences that offer far more protection than doing nothing. What I am suggesting is that perhaps the police encourage residents to consider investigating these systems, rather than suggesting that locked, glass windows will keep burglars away.

What I did endorse was having the police provide a simple way for people to pipe feeds from their home surveillance systems to the police, so that these feeds could be seen by both dispatch operators, but possibly even by police officers on-route in their cruisers. There are many possibilities here, that are not being even considered by the police at this time.

> We should all be reporting anything suspicious we see.

And just what is “suspicious”? The last police chief was fired because she claimed that her officers were going to monitor people who looked “suspicious” (or were wearing headbands, etc.). Given our politically correct posture towards “diversity”—how do you characterize “suspicious” anymore? Yes, seeing three guys with bandanas over their faces hauling your neighbor’s TV out of his house is probably “suspicious”. But how often does that happen?

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Posted by Video
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Can anyone recommend a good home surveillance system that allows remote monitoring by the owner and that doesn't break the bank?

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Posted by Happily ever after(PA)
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Why would anyone chose to live in PA when the surrounding cities have it so much more together? Schools? It used to be that, but now, as mentioned above, the Tiger Moms have turned them into study-bot factories with many kids needing time off AFTER high school to heal up from the burn out. Not for me, but if that's your kind of thing, enjoy.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I didn't choose it. I was born here. Too lazy to move. Too broke to have anything worth stealing.

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Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Anything we can do as residents to harden the target for burglars is a good thing, and that includes video surveillance. It's also critical to secure doors and windows, as well as side gates that left unlocked will allow a burglar to operate unseen from the street in most cases. These criminals are going to look for the path of least resistance. The vast majority do not want to risk a confrontation with the homeowner, nor do they want to attract attention to themselves by making noise created by smashing a window or kicking in a door. Why should they when so many people leave their doors and windows unlocked giving them easy access. They case and test homes that are left unsecured. Taking these steps isn't a bunker mentality, it's just common sense.

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Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 20, 2012 at 1:08 am

Mr. Jinks~

> "There are tons of worthless jobs that can be eliminated"

Such as ?????

Like this comment
Posted by Go PAPD
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm

"Palo Alto police said that residents are still not getting the message..."
Alas, I think it's the police department that isn't getting the message. Remember who the bad guys are. Crime is up dramatically, and getting on top of it should be your top priority. Don't blame the victim. We support you! Now go out and catch some bad guys!

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Posted by Jimmy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Video asked, "Can anyone recommend a good home surveillance system that allows remote monitoring by the owner and that doesn't break the bank?"

Google Dropcam. The camera is $150 and streams the video via your WiFi to their servers and stores the video. The set-up is ridiculously easy. You can set it up for motion detection.

I dont work for them, i just love the product.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 21, 2012 at 8:53 am

Looks like another $100/year subscription for Dropcam to be useful, i.e. 7-day video storage in their "cloud". Also might want your WiFi and the Dropcam on battery backup. Nice advantage over home recording devices is if burglar finds camera, the incriminating video is already recorded where he can't reach it.

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