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No Security in city parking garages

Original post made by Another theft victim, St. Claire Gardens, on Jul 1, 2019

We found out the hard way. Our daughter's car was broken into and her belongings stolen. The police let us know there are no cameras at all in the 445 Bryant St. garage. Considering the taxes and fees we pay this city we live in we should expect to have SOME security in a parking structure! This is silicon valley after all. Instead Palo Alto seems to not even make an effort!!!!

Comments (29)

Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 1, 2019 at 10:13 pm

The city does have $115,000,000 for a new Public Safety building and $719,000 for three pieces of art for the new Public Safety building.

Web Link


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2019 at 6:29 am

Our parking garages and lots are very neglected in security, cleanliness and using technology to avail of spaces or pay for parking.

Palo Alto is the center of Silicon Valley but our publicly run infrastructure is horrific. We don't even have electronic signage to say if there's space or to pay for parking. Property damage to our vehicles when we park in a City owned lot or garage should not be an issue.

It is about time we residents were treated with some more respect. We pay big bucks in our property taxes. We deserve better.


Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 2, 2019 at 2:20 pm

The City is busy supporting the needs of a handful of fanatical bicyclists. Don't distract the City from this important work with complaints of an offense against a motor vehicle. Why would you even want to drive and park such a destructive and anti-bicycle device within our City Limits?


Posted by Wow Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 2, 2019 at 2:25 pm

Have some tea and relax.

Back to the topic, I think the hard lesson (hopefully) learned is to not leave anything of value in your car. It works great at preventing theft: don't leave stuff out where people can steal it.
OR...you can try to blame everyone else for your daughter's 100% preventable blunder.


Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2019 at 3:09 pm

Anyone who reads the Daily Post Police Blotter on a regular basis knows that all of the Palo Alto public garages are frequent targets of smash and grab burglaries. The Bryant Street garage seems to have the highest frequency, followed by the High/Alma garage. I won't park in those garages any more. The police and city government know this is going on but refuse to do anything about it besides tell residents not to leave valuables in their cars.


Posted by Another theft victim
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 2, 2019 at 7:35 pm

Wow Rick,
"Blame everyone else for a 100% preventable blunder"?
Wow, Wow Rick, You are pretty special.
I'll tell you what I expect, I expect effort. Our daughter will indeed pay for her own computer replacement and car repairs so you will rejoice in the fact that she learned a lesson. I on the other hand hold the city accountable for their complete lack of preventative measures. As Anne said in her comment, " Anyone who reads the Daily Post Police Blotter on a regular basis knows that all of the Palo Alto public garages are frequent targets of smash and grab burglaries. The Bryant Street garage seems to have the highest frequency, followed by the High/Alma garage". So we have established this is a well known problem. What has the city done about it? As the responding officer pointed out, there are no cameras anywhere in these facilities. So it appears that the city has done NOTHING in response. The lighting is even a joke in this part of the garage. So we pay many forms of tax to the city towards public safety and they get away doing nothing about the problem.
Blame, no. Hold accountable yes.
I hope you have great luck when your personal property rights are violated wherever that may occur.
And by the way, the only thing visible was a mexican blanket on the floor. They went digging for the computer. At a minimum we would have had a broken window regardless of the loss. Should she park with her windows down too?


Posted by 20/20 Hindsight
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 2, 2019 at 7:44 pm

> I think the hard lesson (hopefully) learned is to not leave anything of value in your car. It works great at preventing theft: don't leave stuff out where people can steal it. OR...you can try to blame everyone else for your daughter's 100% preventable blunder.

^^^The voice of reason.

Maybe the thieves wanted the blanket and discovered the computer by accident.

Moral of the story...buy a car with a trunk & stash the computer in there.



Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2019 at 9:25 pm

Ask PAPD and MTVPD about the number of Teslas that have been broken into when there have been no valuables in the car. The theives break the back quarter window then put the seat down to see what is in the trunk. This article says that break ins are so rampant even when there is nothing on view or hidden in the trunk. Web Link


Posted by Marc
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 2, 2019 at 9:32 pm

@Another theft victim I'm sorry but I have to agree with Rick. The city clowncil and management has no interest in the successful day to day operation of the city.

The focus of the city is what looks good politically and emotionally. Stopping the use of plastic straws. Making more bike lanes, yacking about more sorting of garbage. Giving more money to have the homeless clean the streets downtown.

Everything else it boring and of no interest so it doesn't get any attention. Remember, you voted the clowns into office.

/marc


Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2019 at 1:17 am

Theft from automobiles in parking structures is quite common in urban areas like San Francisco. SFPD no longer even responds to reports of auto theft.

As the Party and real-estate developers work in concert to transform Palo Alto from a suburb into an urban area, you should expect this to happen more and more often. Parking structures are a great place for breaking into a car shrouded from the prying eyes of the public or law enforcement. Also a great place to discard fast food wrappers and soft drinks or urinate if you can't find a bathroom.

This is what "vibrant" looks like.


Posted by DIY
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 3, 2019 at 1:54 am

"The police let us know there are no cameras at all in the 445 Bryant St. garage."

Except all the cameras in everyone's cars. Yes, there are dashcams that capture break-ins.


Posted by BobH
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 3, 2019 at 7:54 am

BobH is a registered user.

There is a rash of these kinds of thefts all over the Bay Area, it's not exclusive to Palo Alto.

I think an investment in security cameras in the parking garages seems prudent. They would have a deterrent effect.

I suggest contacting the City Council in person at a meeting or by email to [email protected] .


Posted by Hater gonna hate
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 3, 2019 at 8:32 am

Web Link


Posted by Whelp
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 3, 2019 at 8:35 am

Leave stuff in cats, get it stolen. That's the real world. I hope the young lady and her family learned a lesson.

I don't leave stuff in front of our house either, covered or not. I don't expect "effort" by the cops to protect my stuff, I'm simply very careful w like it, protect it and do not put it at risk.

I'd rather the cops focus on speeding cars. Unlike speeders on the road, I actually have control over my stuff so I got that part covered.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2019 at 9:27 am

Whelp

I once thought like you until my car window was smashed when I had left nothing in the car and only empty grocery bags in the trunk.

Nowadays with the dark windows in poorly lit areas, they break into cars to see what is there, not because of what they can see. It must be a great disappointment to break a window, open a door and find nothing worth taking. So they try another, and another, until they find something.

Sadly a nice car is a target. Perhaps we should all buy old clunkers to use when we have to leave them in parking garages, because those are the ones the thieves don't break into.


Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 3, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Parking garages have been great break-in targets for thieves as long as I can remember.

I strongly agree with other e-mailers on this subject that security cameras should be installed in all garages. It will help everyone. Yes, we are a city of high technology, so there should not even be a discussion about installing them. So many homes have security cameras installed, so why not extend that to garages?

Even though it is wise not to leave anything of value in your parked car, blaming the victim is not correct. Blame the thieves for their crimes, and work with the City Council to make our garages more safe.


Posted by DIY
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 3, 2019 at 1:10 pm

"So many homes have security cameras installed, so why not extend that to garages?"

Do it Yourself. Extend it in your car. Your own private surveillance.
No worries about government intrusion or bureaucracies.
Like vaccinations, it takes a critical mass to gain some herd immunity.


Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 3, 2019 at 10:00 pm

Shame that we don't feel safe in a City run Parking garage..
If only they spent that $20,000.00 they used to paint trees Blue in front of City Hall on Cameras..


Posted by Bart has cameras
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 4, 2019 at 5:35 am

And everyone feels safe on bart now right? Cameras don't catch people. Create your own safety, keep your own things safe, don;t rely on mama city to protect you and your things.


Posted by DIY
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 4, 2019 at 6:00 am

Most, yes most, of the BART cameras were fake. Just decoys. When the ruse was uncovered a few years back, BART was compelled to replace the fakes with functional units. Allegedly. We never really know if the blinking red light means anything.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2019 at 10:01 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> [...] Teslas that have been broken into when there have been no valuables in the car. The theives break the back quarter window [...] break ins are so rampant even when there is nothing on view or hidden in the trunk

In recent years, I've been leaving my vehicle unlocked. I've seen too many vehicles with broken windows. In fact, I saw a vehicle with a broken window sitting there the last time I parked in a downtown garage ...

It would be nice if the city actually policed the garages, but, despite everyone telling us how "rich" the city is, apparently we can't afford to police either traffic violations or vehicle breakins. My guess is that the breakins involve a small number of people who could be nabbed easily if the city made a modest effort. Traffic is actually the larger problem-- there are a vast number of commuters speeding through neighborhoods to avoid congestion on major arteries.

Yes, since you asked, they go the long way all the time, commuters sometimes driving 2X-3X the distance in order to avoid sitting in traffic jams. Well, streets are free, but, it would be nice if the cut-through traffic would drive at a safe speed and stop at stop signs.

Given the vast amount of money the city allegedly has, how about we rent for a few months 10 traffic police from somewhere else to get things calmed down again?


Posted by We need City & Police help
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Sorry for your daughter's loss.
•We don't want to start accepting car break-ins as a Palo Alto norm--because it won't end there.
In SF, you don't leave anything in your car, ever.
•Your car still gets broken into, and you still have to pay to get the window repaired & drive around in the rain without a window until you can schedule the repair. If you commute far or use your car for work, it's more than an inconvenience, and it's scary driving around at night without a window, while stopping at red lights and being approached by an aggressive person, but unable to roll up the window to be safe.
•You car window can get broken week after week, even if you park a well-traveled lit area. The thieves know the number of car break-ins is so high that the police can't handle it. SF is the Wild West in terms of crime.
•So some SF residents leave their window rolled down, so thieves can easily search the car without breaking the window.
•Then some cars get stolen, used for temporary drug use, vandalized, a napping spot, trash receptacle, etc. You can't win.
•I leave nothing in my parked car in SF. Nothing. I even take my car registration with me in my backpack. But, I know I can be robbed of my phone & backpack on the street, so there are no guarantees for property security, even doing that. Look at pics of SF. You'll see residents wearing their backpacks in front of their bodies, because criminals run up behind people, tear their backpacks off their backs, drag them to the ground, and then run away with the backpack.
•Breaking into cars is a crime. It needs to be prosecuted.
•Again, I'm sorry for your daughter and for the many other people who work or drive to Palo Alto and can't logistically reasonably carry everything in their car on their person and have no safe nearby spot to leave their belongings.


Posted by The Rifleman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2019 at 3:21 pm

A locked trunk is always your safest bet as one can legally carry firearms in there providing they are not loaded. It is also legal to keep a box of shells for those specific guns/rifles in the trunk but again, the weapons have to be empty.

For those with hatchbacks and SUVs, a locked gun box is required by law but they do not have to be permanently attached to the interior of the vehicle. A glove compartment even if lockable cannot contain a firearm.

Gunracks mounted near the rear window of a pick-up truck also have to have locks.
In many rural areas it is customary to have both a shotgun and a 30-30 rifle. They pretty much cover the bases if one has to shoot something.

It's probably not necessary for the average townsperson in PA to have weapons stored in the trunk of a car but some traveling wholesale jewelers have 'carry permits' as do firearms dealers.














Posted by Pied Piper
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 5, 2019 at 11:26 am

Pied Piper is a registered user.

@Rick:
The crime was not 100% preventable. For that matter, there is no data to suggest it was preventable at all.

Speaking of 100% preventable, lame posts (one comes to mind) might qualify.


Posted by Sophie
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 6, 2019 at 9:41 pm

If police department stops trying to do something to find the car thieves and prosecute them, they will develop their habit to target more cars. First, they will target the cars with valuables visible to them, next, they will target the cars with big trunks with possible valuables, third, they will target high end cars, last, they will try all cars. If people tolerate such crime, the next target will be your car, my car, anyone’s car.


Posted by Charles
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2019 at 3:31 pm

This is why we don’t shop Downtown Palo Alto. There are many other areas to shop that are safe and we feel safer patronizing. Local merchants associations should band together and approach the police or City Council regarding this situation.. After all, the merchants are the net losers if nobody shows up to buy.


Posted by Use Bait & Then Arrest
a resident of University South
on Jul 9, 2019 at 8:44 am

A possible PAPD methodology...

(1) Just get some used laptops/smartphones & leave them on the front seat of a dupe vehicle.

(2) Monitor the car, enjoy some brioche & coffee and the arrest the suspect upon break-in.

(3) Once the word gets out on the streets, the number of PA auto break-ins will drop.


Posted by Use Bait & Then Arrest
a resident of University South
on Jul 9, 2019 at 8:45 am

and [then] arrest the suspect


Posted by EZ Way To Catch Car Thieves
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 10, 2019 at 1:30 pm

&Use Bait & Then Arrest

Better yet...just a couple of marked CASH (C-Notes) on the front seat.

Guaranteed catch!


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