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Q&A with the top cop: On car break-ins

Original post made on Mar 13, 2020

The Weekly recently sat down with Palo Alto Police Chief Robert Jonsen to discuss recent cases involving use of force, the surge in car break-ins and his vision for the department. This is the first installment in a four-part series.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 13, 2020, 7:48 AM

Comments (9)

5 people like this
Posted by Tecsi
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:55 am

Really pleased you are reporting on this. It helps to understand the factors contributing to this.
How we solve this is unclear, but Prop 47 doesn’t seem to be helping. Maybe the answer is to cut off the money source: namely, never leave valuables in your car. It’s a pain, but it might be our best chance.

I would also like to see a discussion about the increased number of flagrant store thefts measuring thousands of dollars. These appear to be happening frequently at Stanford Shopping Center (Apple, Victoria Secret, ...) but also in stand-alone stores. These seem to have the same underlying elements.


12 people like this
Posted by Lee Thé
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:02 pm

I voted for Prop. 47. Now I would vote to repeal it. As the police chief says, it isn't down and out people any more. It's a business model based on Prop. 47's exact provisions. You can say, idealistically, that we value lives over mere property. But now we're attracting crews and an overall level of property crime that makes it qualitatively different. Social order and a sense of safety on the part of citizens means a lot. I didn't value that enough until we lost it.


3 people like this
Posted by Tecsi
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 13, 2020 at 1:18 pm

Very good comment by Lee Thé. Sometimes we learn unintended consequences after we make changes.


10 people like this
Posted by Harsher Laws Needed
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 3:26 pm

> Proposition 47 has lessened law enforcement's ability to hold certain burglars and drug offenders accountable.

>> Prop 47 doesn’t seem to be helping.

>>> I voted for Prop. 47. Now I would vote to repeal it.

^^^ Proposition 47 protects meth-heads & related crime (i.e. residential/automotive burglaries, sexual assaults, physical violence & what not).

Users & sellers should be prosecuted/incarcerated to the harshest extent of a NEW LAW implemented to get these kinds of individuals off the streets. They contribute NADA to the betterment of society.


9 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Another progressive legislative failure.


1 person likes this
Posted by Midtown Local
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2020 at 9:00 am

I'm not sure I get it. On the one hand, I've read that Prop 47 allows for a year in jail for property crimes. That may not be as severe as before Prop 47, but surely it'd be a deterrent if we were doing that. Yet the chief says we're releasing the perps after a day or two. Why? Why not prosecute to the extent that Prop 47 allows?


Like this comment
Posted by Tecsi
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 15, 2020 at 1:55 pm

Interesting point from Midtown Local. I wonder if the time to prosecute just one of these might be too costly?

Any inputs?



Like this comment
Posted by Tecsi
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 15, 2020 at 2:02 pm

re. Harsher Laws Needed, I agree the current approach isn’t working now.

First, remember that most (90%++?) of these break-ins don’t lead to the culprit. So if we never catch them, what do we do?

Which drugs (meth, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, ...) would you jail people for, and for how long? What would you expect to happen with them after they are released?


2 people like this
Posted by Lockdown & Throw Away The Keys
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 16, 2020 at 9:31 am

> Which drugs (meth, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, ...) would you jail people for, and for how long? What would you expect to happen with them after they are released?

^^^ I suspect that the predominant number of residential burglaries & auto break-ins are done by out of town or homeless meth addicts.

They almost ALWAYS return to their meth addictions because of the drug's allure.

Locking them up indefinitely (in an institution/ward) would probably solve the problem.


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