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Peninsula police respond to smash-and-grab crimes

Original post made on Aug 9, 2013

The police call them "window-smash burglaries." In Palo Alto this summer, there have been about 70 such crimes, in which thieves busted car windows and took items within. Nearly 50 occurred in June.
[Web Link View an interactive map of the crimes]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 12, 2013, 11:05 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm

If there's anyone with influence out there, please try to get Stanford Shopping Center to increase their vehicle patrols in the parking garage and lots - I think that visible presence would help a lot. Stanford is clearly one of the most prosperous shopping centers in the entire SF Bay Area, and we want to feel secure when shopping there and visitors should be able to shop in peace and leave their purchases in the trunk without a big risk. I think visible presence of security will reduce theft and robbery there.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2013 at 4:33 pm

The main commonsense tip: lock things: your car doors, don't leave valuables in sight, and close and lock your windows, sliders, doors at home. Some people live in olden days and are too relaxed about their property and valuables.

Posted by shame on ssc, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 9, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I agree with neighbor that stanford shopping center needs to increase security presence in their parking lots. The article says for a couple months there were 6 or 7 there a night. That is unacceptable.

Posted by Haha, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 9, 2013 at 8:32 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Why doesn't the Stanford Shopping Center have surveillance cameras covering every inch of the parking lots?

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Much better map.

Posted by Smash and grab victim, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 9, 2013 at 11:49 pm

I was one of the victims at a smash and grab at the parking lot of the Ming's restaurant on a weeknight dinner after work. I was appalled at what happened and at the lack of cameras at the parking lot. The restaurant owners did nothing about it and based on what the article said, it looks like other robberies have already taken place there. It is a perfect spot next to 101, making for an easy escape. If you're ever at Ming's, I recommend you watch out and not leave anything in your car.

Posted by Surveillance-Cameras-Work, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2013 at 8:28 am

> I was appalled at what happened and at the lack of cameras
> at the parking lot. The restaurant owners did nothing about it

Maybe the best thing to do is avoid Ming's after dark. The owners don't seem to be people who care about their customers' safety.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2013 at 11:02 am

More security is great, but each of us has some personal responsibility too.

Don't leave ANYTHING of any value in you car -- ever. Esp. electronics!! Lock your car. Don't ever let go of your purse at Starbucks, stores, etc. These are basics, but they would prevent a lot of smash and grab thefts.

Stunning that people actually left their laptops in the car in the parking lot then went shopping.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm

We've been through this before. As I recall, it hasn't previously focused on people leaving laptops on seats and then going shopping.
What I remember has to do with the large number of visitors in this upscale area.
People fly in here with their (prospective applicant) kid to visit/tour Stanford, then park their rental car at the shopping center to get food, shop, whatever as it is a close nearby attraction. It is understandable such persons would have luggage, purchases in their trunk. There have been letters to the editor of local publications from irate parents who have suffered theft in this fashion while visiting Stanford. I don't think it was from leaving electronics out in the open; I think criminals stake out the parking lots/garages and witnessed these visitors putting bags in their trunk and took advantage of them.

Posted by Bob , a resident of Community Center
on Aug 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Renta car companies used to put an identifying sticker on a bumper or on a window clearly identifying the vehicle as a 'rental'. Might as well put on a sign saying "Take my stuff".
Perhaps there needs to be a requirement that every restaurant - at least the upscale ones- have least two security cameras and post warning signs to guests. Hotel parking lots should definitely have these cameras.

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm

It is a shame that society has stooped to the point where good people have to spend time, effort and even money to protect themselves from an ever-increasing number of pathetic thieves, graffiti "artists" and other thugs.

Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2013 at 11:49 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Allen Edwards, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Anyone watch "Max Headroom"? Is that where we are headed?

In that series, it was only safe to walk the streets if you had a live TV camera with you recording your every move. When the TV feed went out, really bad things happened.

The court ruling in New York today, outlawing a program that has saved thousands of lives, is not helpful.

Posted by Leslie, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Also, beware along Stanford Ave. near the Dish. I came down from a Dish walk recently about 7 a.m. and saw that an SUV had its front passenger window smashed. Glass was all over the ground and the seat. Right in plain sight on the seat was a keyring full of keys and lots of personal papers. The vandal(s) didn't take those, but who knows what else was sitting in plain sight on the front seat that they did take? Let's not make it any easier on the thieving scallywags than it already is.

Posted by stretch, a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm

To Smash and Grab Victim: it wasn't Ming's fault that vauables were stolen from your car. Have we come to the point that it's up to store owners and shopping centers to replace common sense with cameras and patrols? Don't leave things that you don't want to lose in your car! It's been like this in the Hawaiian Islands for years - when you rent a car, they tell you not to leave valuables inside. It's time to take responsibility and not foist it upon someone else.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I was at Byxby Park when a woman's purse was stolen from her car. Of course, leaving it on her front seat in plain sight wasn't too bright. It's lousy when people go straight from work to exercise, leaving their items vulnerable, but it helps greatly if people actually hide them. Those of us who're honest don't skulk around sussing out opportunities for thievery, but it only takes one slick jerk to do some damage.

Posted by Suspicious Guy, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2013 at 9:15 am

There's usually somebody at Byxby Park, parked on the edge of the lot, just sitting in their car, which is parked with the front facing out so they could pull out of there in a hurry if they need to.

Do I call the cops on people like this or are they just chilling? I don't know.

Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Sheesh - GoPro has an enitrely new application. Who knew?

Posted by Palo Alto Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I think we need the police to actively patrol more. They need to randomly close all highway exists except one of them which should have a vehicle search. We see home/car robberies during the day and then car and catalytic converter thefts at night by people who come from out of town. How hard is to ask a non-resident who doesn't work at a full-time job in Palo Alto that the police would like to search your car? They can aways say no and criminals will get the message.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Suspicious Guy - thanks for the info re the person who parks facing out at Byxbee. I know a lot of locals who love going there, so I'll tell them to be on the lookout.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm

It's interesting that despite demands for cut backs, decrease in pay, benefits and pension, Palo Altans want more and more from the police department. Wake up! With cuts in policing everywhere, it has become incumbent on us to do some 'policing' ourselves. Look around you, be prepared to report anything suspicious, lock doors and windows and don't leave valuables in cars--even out of sight.

Like some people here, I do think that businesses need to use cameras that take top quality video. I'm not fond of Ming's anyway, but their cavalier attitude toward break-ins is definitely alienating.

Posted by Janie, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 18, 2013 at 6:39 am

The city parks and museums and coastal tourist attractions are being targeted as well. I found someone's luggage in a trail in golden gate park, she was parked at Academy of Sciences. Spoke with park staff and they said there are dozens of vehicles broken into EVERY DAY.

Always new it could happen, but now I know it's LIKELY.

City life everywhere.

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