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Rocked by thefts, residents at Palo Alto condo complex ask for help

Original post made on Feb 3, 2022

Sharon Lee-Nakayama moved to Altaire Walk in 2010 and for the first decade she didn't worry about crime. But things changed abruptly in March 2020, when thefts at the residential complex became routine and increasingly brazen.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 3, 2022, 9:28 AM

Comments (24)

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2022 at 10:58 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Crime wave! At last, it is being called what it is. We do have a crime wave in Palo Alto.

Posted by Shirley 'Mac'
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 3, 2022 at 11:06 am

Shirley 'Mac' is a registered user.

With large of complex, the 100 families should combine resources and hire 2 or 3 security guards to be on site--24 hours a day. Using iPhone contact and surveillance camera--apprehend, handcuff robbers then call police for trial/punishment/incarceration. After several arrests to let the gang of robbers know not to hit this area. One Security guard at mailbox location full time.

Posted by Brad Cooper
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2022 at 11:07 am

Brad Cooper is a registered user.

Sadly, Palo Alto is becoming a hub of residential & commercial crimes due to the pacifist vulnerabilities of those who endorse progressive measures towards dealing with criminals who have now found this community easy pickings.

Posted by Claudette
a resident of Woodside
on Feb 3, 2022 at 11:09 am

Claudette is a registered user.

Thieves run unabated .
Police say their hands are tied.
( what does that mean?)
Citizens video/photo evidence provided, Nothing.
Should private citizens now take matters in their own hands?
Are there no consequences any longer for anything?

Posted by Barron Parker Too
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 3, 2022 at 11:53 am

Barron Parker Too is a registered user.

This is not acceptable.
The police budget was cut just as the crime wave in Palo Alto was ramping up,
The City Council has an obligation to fund the police at a level necessary to deter crime, by demonstrating that we can catch and convict criminals.

Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 3, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Anneke is a registered user.

First, I would like to understand more about our Police Department, i.e., how large is the Police Force? Also, I would like to see driving police somewhat like Lyft and Uber, where they are already in many of the neighborhoods of Palo Alto, and not in the main office.

Second, our legal punishments need to be harsher and become a deterrent, otherwise citizens are going to take reactions to stealing into their own hands. Please remember what they do with thieves in some Middle Eastern Countries.

I recognize that it is not an easy time for the Police, and as such we need to help them by extra watching our neighborhood. If we all watch our direct neighbors' homes for any kind of danger, we will already make quite a dent.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 3, 2022 at 12:46 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

This is so sad. A lot of work has been done to provide a lovely set of living arrangements in that location. All of the RV's parked along that road - may work on El Camino but does not work here. I think a Police side office should be placed on the campus of the company that now occupies the Ford Aerospace/SSL campus. We need police offices placed in trouble areas. I always thought that would be a good place for a small Urgent Care facility, Police Office Annex, Fire Station, City Annex for meetings.

Posted by jhskrh
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 3, 2022 at 1:12 pm

jhskrh is a registered user.

Our heroes, the apathy on part of the PA PD is appalling.

Posted by Joe Sessoms
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 3, 2022 at 1:27 pm

Joe Sessoms is a registered user.

Many of these recent crimes have taken place PRIOR to the PAPD being notified.

So in all fairness, the most the police can "after the fact" is fill out a report and advise residents to be more careful.

The only other alternative to preventing future residential crime is for the city and its residents to hire a private security firm to patrol key areas BEFORE the crimes occur.

Or create an effective Neighborhood Watch Program working in conjunction with the PAPD.

Simply complaining with exaltations of personal outrage is non-productive and petty.

Step up to the plate and do something.

Joe Sessoms/San Jose homeowner & former condo renter in Palo Alto

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Criminals are emboldened by weak charging and conviction scenario.
I place Public Safety and Public Health at the very top of the list of responsibilities
Of our elected and appointed public officials. Please contact your city, county and state
Politicians to remind them of this. They are focused endlessly on the streams
Of transients, drug addicts and mentally challenged persons who gravitate here; despite endless
Taxpayer spending see: San Francisco as well as Governor Newsom’s spending of taxpayers provided monies to the
Tune of billions.
Of course, authentic layoffs, physical/mental health issues should be addressed by public
But I have read on NextDoor the notion that one can be excused for robbing, attacking, trashing public
Spaces, etc. There’s a lot more that’s happened from invitation to come here to take advantage of largesse while not utilizing social services to improve one’s lot.
Not ok.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 3, 2022 at 3:02 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

We need more than excuses, vague "vows to act" and non-helpful comments like PA's not the only place experiencing crime.

Good for Burt for demanding a report from Shikada that contains specifics. Maybe after a few months of discussing and refining the report they might decide to station a few cops and visible cop cars there?

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2022 at 3:40 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

The person monkeying with the security box is female with long braided hair and pierced ears. Probably between 20 - 30 years old (no graying hair in evidence). Likely trying to disguise themselves as a male, and doing this during daylight hours because there are probably not many security repair places who have technicians who work during the nighttime. The security box needs to be behind a barrier so it can't be unscrewed and tampered with.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2022 at 5:38 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

The crime rate in Palo Alto is way too high. Liberal cities will always have a higher crime rate. Soft on crime is ineffectual, and criminals take advantage. Lack of support from the community is demoralizing, and Palo Altans are lucky they have any police who are still working in the town. I'd find a job in another town where I'd feel appreciated.

Posted by Minimizing Entrophy
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 3, 2022 at 6:54 pm

Minimizing Entrophy is a registered user.

In the last five months I witnesses two incidents of Catalytic converter thefts outside my house. Both time I have called the police and they responder very promptly. I had confronted the thieves as they were doing their business and they knew which house I had come from. The officer asked if I would be interested in doing a photo line up as they had followed the car but could not pursue past Mountain View. My immediate response was YES! Two days later they came back and I was picked the two guys I saw out of a line up. The Officer thanked me and several days later left a message saying my participation had help in apprehending the perpetrators. Fast forward 3 months and I hear the same sound coming from outside. This time the perpetrators finished their business but went the wrong way down a one way street giving me time to call PAPD. They traced the vehicle to the freeway but made no stop because the license vehicle model matched the vehicle description but on later follow up was no the vehicle color. Stolen plates, smarter crooks.

Now the worst part. It was the same vehicle victimized both times and when I talked to the owner, whom I had helped fix his car the previous incident, told me the prosecutor dropped the charges because it wasn't worth enough. I was flabbergasted and mad that I had put myself out to help, the previous perpetrators knew where I lived and they were just let off scot free.

So, it isn't the fault of the police. but the laws we have making crimes below a certain value not worth pursuing. Maybe we need more Prosecutors willing to "waste" tax payers money to make a point that we are not going to stand for it any more.

This is just my experience. I might not be alone.

Posted by Virginia Smedberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2022 at 10:59 pm

Virginia Smedberg is a registered user.

Sounds to me like there needs to be someone THERE, observing, all the time for a few months, with lots of camera ability to catch the perpetrators in the act so convictions can really happen and people get jailed - i.e. taken out of circulation (rather than just scaring them off). Unfortunately security guards cost money. Neighborhood watch setups can help - probably a combo of both. But I think we all agree, something has to be actively done NOW. I don't live near there, or I'd try to help.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 4, 2022 at 12:37 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"Maybe we need more Prosecutors willing to "waste" tax payers money to make a point that we are not going to stand for it any more."

And judges. Web Link
Federal judge bucks prosecutors, jails California man who mailed 75 racist death threats to anti-Trump politicians

He'd threatened dozens of politicians over the course of 4 years. The prosecutor still defended his probation recommendation because the criminal expressed contrition.

This shouldn't be rare!

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2022 at 6:53 am

Neighbor is a registered user.

Why don’t they hire security for the next 6 months to patrol ?

Posted by Hal
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 4, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Hal is a registered user.

It would be a great time for City Council to approve repair of all the non working cameras at major street intersections. Police can't catch criminals if the city won't even maintain the tools our community approved to purchase. Media has not helped either. Criminals can read too. One final note, buy anti theft license plate hardware for your cars plates. Plates are getting stolen more often in this community of easy opportunities.

Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 4, 2022 at 2:17 pm

TimR is a registered user.

The residential crime wave in Atherton is reportedly being run by a Chilean gang. And I mention that because apparently, Atherton police are able to put the time and resources into finding that out. Meanwhile, in Palo Alto, they can't even look at video of the crimes, and figure out who the perpetrators are? These are crimes against society, and the more a city ignores them, the more inhumane things become. I realize some relish the idea of society's downfall, but for those who don't, it's time to demand action.

Posted by Larry Chen
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 4, 2022 at 4:58 pm

Larry Chen is a registered user.

"The residential crime wave in Atherton is reportedly being run by a Chilean gang. And I mention that because apparently, Atherton police are able to put the time and resources into finding that out."

"Meanwhile, in Palo Alto, they can't even look at video of the crimes, and figure out who the perpetrators are?"

It is difficult to establish the true identities of these modern day perpetrators because many of them are wearing face masks + the same kind of clothing while sharing similar skin colorations and physiques.

Only with an actual witness account and artist's sketch + working DNA sample can the detectives take the next viable step towards apprehending the suspects.

The PAPD is not a TV detective show and there are no Kojaks, Columbos, Joe Fridays, or Steve McGarrets on the force.

Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 4, 2022 at 5:46 pm

John is a registered user.

TimR they know exactly who is committing the crimes. They put together cases, submit to the DA for charges/arrest warrants and then.... uh... well you don't expect consequences do you? This isn't Texas.

Posted by Chris
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 5, 2022 at 10:05 am

Chris is a registered user.

I live here. The police do nothing. We have close up video of people pulling out the door circuit board and opening our locked door to the mail room - then stealing all the mail… the police do nothing. We have video of close-up images of people breaking into our bike cages and snapping the bike locks with huge bolt cutters. The police do nothing. I personally met with a sergeant at the Palo Alto Police Department and he told me “we don’t want to tackle some guy on a bike because it’ll get on YouTube and we will look bad.” TRUE STORY. The police do nothing.

Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 5, 2022 at 12:50 pm

Paly Grad is a registered user.

Report mail thefts to the USPS:

Web Link

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 5, 2022 at 2:56 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"Meanwhile, in Palo Alto, they can't even look at video of the crimes, and figure out who the perpetrators are?"

Even when they figure out who the perpetrators are, they don't seem to follow up. As per recent crime reports, disturbing statements from PAPD have been popping up lately effectively, "We arrived at the crime scene in minutes. We located the suspect and his late-model white GM van. We followed him to the Mountain View border where had to end pursuit."

Is Mountain View too far away for them?

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