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Robberies, burglaries on the rise in 2011

Original post made on Dec 29, 2011

Palo Alto began 2011 in the midst of a crime wave that included violent street holdups and property crimes. Police held a community meeting Jan. 19, and Chief Dennis Burns announced that smashing the robbery trend that had begun in September 2010 was the department's highest priority.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 29, 2011, 3:16 PM

Comments (10)

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Posted by addition
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm

not to mention continuos harassment of certain citizens, by the police. people who are not criminals ,but are always profiled. but now ,even victor frost is being harassed. cops tolerate a lot from him, but now even white guys are being harassed,. good excuse to increase awareness of non important activities such as the huge waste of money on marijuana plants for everyone.

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Posted by white collar
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Why does white collar crime in our city get swept under the rug? There were some huge frauds and thefts committed by local residents or against local businesses this year. The Mercury-News has much better coverage of Palo Alto white collar crime than the PA Weekly.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm

white collar, you're right. This publication, which has many great things about it, has a slant, imo, toward fear-inducing local-centric stories. If, for example, I didn't know how to read beyond this slant, I never would've stepped foot in EPA, where I've lived for many years.

There has been a lot of white collar crime, & given this economy, it helps us all to be aware of the goings on & the impacts on us. When I'd read & comment on the stories re Page Mill Properties & what they did here in EPA, to the banks they borrowed from & to local businesses, I was shocked that so many commenters only focused on the lower income EPA residents instead of the thugs in suits who lost hundreds of millions of dollars from loans & CalPERS. On top of that, I'd love to know how much money the principles - most of them locals - made off with. Heck, even after they deserted their EPA offices, they made off w/the rent monies of 1800 units when technically that money belonged to Wells Fargo. One of the head honchos of PMP is now on a local charity board. What the heck? That's just one complicated local story. But somehow, the focus is always on the lower income residents instead of the actual perpetrators of this debacle.

These white collar crimes leave us all footing the bill - which means that we get ripped off more than once. Yes, I know that street rime can be dramatic & dangerous, but I can't help but wonder if it's not a budget and/or bandwidth issues that these bigger financial white collar stories aren't being fully addressed.

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Posted by Ernesto Villareal
a resident of Ventura
on Dec 29, 2011 at 10:23 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Vic
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Good points all on the issue of white collar crimes, however the vast majority of those cases are investigated and prosecuted at the state and federal level. Although municipal police departments may be involved in those cases, their primary responsibility is to respond to and address the immediate activity that threatens public safety. That would certainly fall into the categories of robbery, sexual assaults, domestic violence, weapons offenses, crimes against children, etc. That is what local police departments are generally equipped, staffed, and trained to do. It is also the criminal activity that draws the majority of their resources, along with a myriad of property crimes and quality of life issues.

Being that this is an article about local street crime, I think our expectations of what local police agencies are capable of accomplishing should be tempered a bit. Especially since most agencies, including the Palo Alto force, is operating with 15-20% less officers than they staffed just a few years ago.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm

The point that we were making is that *lack* of solid stories from local publications on local white collar crime. I think in part it is due to the ease of reporting street crime, as well as budget issues & perhaps comfort zones of the local publications that make reporting street crime much more common than the reporting of white collar crime.

BTW, Ernesto, I flagged your comment. Your comment reminds me of the gang problems that were common in your area. The way you write reminds me of the violence that was more common in your neighborhood in the past. How sad.

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Posted by Vic
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 30, 2011 at 1:20 am

The media's tendency to cover street crime at greater lengths is due to a much higher frequency rate, the immediate impact, violent nature of the crimes, and the obvious need to get the word out so people can be more aware. White collar crime can indeed have a major impact on people's lives, and those responsible should be prosecuted and held accountable. However, they are not going to be the criminals shooting and killing someone on the street for their car or wallet, or paralyzing neighborhoods with drugs and gang activity. For those reasons, it is paramount that municipal police department's priorities have to focus on street crimes.

As for the prior so-called "gang" activity that took place in our Ventura neighborhood, I'm afraid it paled in comparison to the widespread gang activity that has existed in East Palo Alto for many decades now. To suggest otherwise with all due respect sounds a bit silly. You only have to look at the apartment rental rates historically to figure that out. I can appreciate the efforts to deflect some of the criticism and issues that people have to cope with in East Palo Alto, but you have to keep it somewhat real.

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Posted by Show-Me-The-Numbers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2011 at 8:03 am

This Weekly article's headline claims that "crime is on the rise", and then provides no evidence of that fact--just a list of crimes that occurred this year in Palo Alto.

What about some real data .. like the property/violent crimes from last year compared to the year-to-date numbers? This would give us some idea of how much crime is trending in this community. The never-ending lack of transparency from the Palo Alto Police is clearly aided-and-abetted by the Weekly.

Maybe it's time to consider poor reporting as some sort of a "crime".

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Posted by chrisc
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 30, 2011 at 11:11 am

chrisc is a registered user.

I agree with Show-Me-The-Numbers about wanting some statistics, graphs, or something showing the rise in crime that I'm quite sure is the case -- having lived here 30 years. However, I do not agree that the PA Weekly does a poor job of reporting. This is a free paper -- it's not the New York Times, which has its own set of problems with regard to unbiased reporting. The PA Weekly/Online reproters do a fantastic job and have won many awards for journalism. In my opinion, our PA Weekly/Online is way better than most free papers. (The film reviews are also as good if not better than Merc and Chronicle.)

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2011 at 11:13 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Sorry, Vic- you didn't get what I meant - I apologize for not being clear. This was my point to Ernesto: that his comment reminded me of when his area had gang problems. I wasn't comparing his area to EPA at all. My point was that his violent comment was in line w/gang thinking & it reminded me of when there were gangs in the Ventura area (which there still are). In fact, some of the hotspots in that area are among owned homes & have been problematic for quite awhile. Stanford people I know new to the area often comment on it as well.

I'd be thrilled if this publication did an in-depth story of a local white collar crime so that readers would have a sense of how it all plays out, including the after affects on non-participants & innocent "bystanders".

I also don't deflect the points about problems in EPA - I point out other facts & other aspects of reality. It's naive to not acknowledge that the media slant is part of how EPA is viewed.

With the prison-gang connections, gang issues will just continue, and that includes not just gang on gang crime & street crimes against innocents, but also drug dealing to non-residents who use drugs. Outsiders still come to EPA to buy drugs so it's still a problem.

Given the current economy & the concentration of wealth in parts of the peninsula, I can't imagine street crime rates will go down any time soon, unfortunately. And speaking of unfortunate, I had to be at Stanford Shopping Center on Christmas Eve. As festive as it was, there was no sign of a poor economy. No wonder thieves are active there.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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