Buying police scanners should not be an easy decision -- privacy rights are an issue | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond | Almanac Online |

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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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Buying police scanners should not be an easy decision -- privacy rights are an issue

Uploaded: Oct 26, 2022
The Palo Alto Police Department wants the city to spend thousands of dollars each year, for an indefinite period, to purchase an unspecified number (10, 20, or?) of Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) to help them identify stolen vehicles, trace cars involved in crimes and help investigators locate perpetrators once a crime has occurred, according to a report from the Police Department.

Sounds great, doesn’t it! In fact, a number of residents are already applauding the proposal to make our city safer (BTW, it already is pretty safe) and give the department more tools to use around town, by placing these readers on police cars, polls at street intersections, or wherever deemed needed.

I read the council-manager report on the desire to have more ALPRs, written by the police department, and page after page talked about the benefits of ALPRs to the community. It was not the pro-con reports that used to be presented to the council to help members better understand a measure. This police report talked little of the disadvantages and barely anything about privacy concerns. Also, there was an attachment way at the end of the department’s report of the concerns of the ACLU about the privacy intrusions.

The police estimated the technology for the system would cost $75.000 to $200,000 the first year, and between $50,000 and $150,000 every year afterward. That would amount to $1.5 million in just 10 years. And we don’t know how much each individual ALPRs the police want, so the numbers are still undecided and flexible. We are talking about real money.

I picked up on the affordability issue because, to me, it is not clear if the department is proposing 20 new ALPRs or less, when at the same time the department is short-staffed and needs ore trained officers (at least five ASAP), and the city is considering spending $150 million or so on fiber-to-the-home, and we want new grade crossings so cars do not have to stop- for each train going by, and some want a new gym, and etc., etc.

Well, we can’t do it all.

So that leads me to ask, do we really need ALPRs, and how much of a priority are they?

As reported in the Weekly, "the ACLU report states, ‘The community at large can pay a heavy price if surveillance technology is acquired and deployed without evaluating its impact on civil rights and its potential for misuse. Surveillance can easily intrude upon the individual rights of residents and visitors, perpetuate discriminatory policing, or chill freedom of expression, association, and religion — freedoms that public officials are sworn to protect. As a result, surveillance can erode trust in law enforcement, making it harder for officers and community members to work together to keep the community safe.”
I know we’ve gotten used to cameras following us around – in stores and pharmacies, at stoplight intersections, and some say, “Why worry? I am not doing anything wrong.”

Okay, then let me read all your email messages. Why not? If you’ve done nothing wrong, why object to my reading them?

I think this community has to be very careful about our individual privacies, because once we say scanning is okay, what message have you just sent to the police? It’s okay, so you can scale up your scans of my house and street. Right now the report says police won’t do that. But next year? And what if the entire community is being scanned because police know a bad guy has entered town and is hiding here?

Plus, there’s the factor that minorities may be surveyed more because, well, you know, police say the crime rate can be higher in those areas.

The council members all seemed to favor getting scanners, although there were a few probing questions from Greer Stone and Tom Dubois. We need more challenging questions from the council.

ALPRs will be under discussion for several months. Ask yourself now, do we really need more automated scanners for the police? Is it a priority? Will they diminish our privacy? Will they affect our quality of life? Can this city afford them – or will we soon be taxed for them? We already have two city tax measures on this November’s ballot.



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Comments

Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Oct 26, 2022 at 10:28 am

staying home is a registered user.

Glad to see privacy issues/police oversight is still being covered by PAOnline. Here is what I'd like to know before supporting ALPRs: how is information being stored and secured? How long? Who can access it? Can it be sold to third party?

Some scenarios to think about: what if your insurance provider asked for this info to validate your driving patterns before an accident? What if you were being sued in civil court and this information was subpoenaed? How would you feel if one of these cameras was at an intersection next to your home and it captured every time you left your driveway?


Posted by Mike Singleton, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Oct 26, 2022 at 11:05 am

Mike Singleton is a registered user.

Personal privacy is a thing of the past...just ask Google, Apple, Facebook, or any online site that collects personal information.

Automated License Plate Readers will curtail potential crimes by keeping an eye on things and alerting police of any undesirables (i.e. car thieves, shopping center assailants, and traffic offenders).

If one has nothing to hide in terms of lawbreaking or criminal activity, there is nothing to fear.

If the police can identify and apprehend more out-of-town crooks as a result of this technology more power to them.

The only ones who might take issue with this type of surveillance are soft on crime progressives who believe criminals are the true societal victims.

Hogwash...arrest and lock these undesirables up in county jail as they will have their day in court to clarify matters before getting remanded to the state pen.


Posted by Karen White, a resident of Midtown,
on Oct 26, 2022 at 11:29 am

Karen White is a registered user.

• Surveillance can easily intrude upon the individual rights of residents and visitors, perpetuate discriminatory policing, or chill freedom of expression, association, and religion " freedoms that public officials are sworn to protect."

Why should Palo Alto protect the privacy of out-of-town criminals who come here solely for the purpose of of perpetuating robberies and assaults?

Freedom of religion and expression will not come under increased scrutiny, just unwelcomed criminals and sociopaths.

Discriminatory policing serves a viable purpose if the alleged suspects match the discriptions reported in perpetrated crimes.


Posted by DianaDiamond, a resident of Midtown,
on Oct 26, 2022 at 12:12 pm

DianaDiamond is a registered user.

Mike --

You Worte: "The only ones who might take issue with this type of surveillance are soft on crime progressives who believe criminals are the true societal victims."

FYI, I am neither a progressive nor do I believe criminals are victims. Please do not characterize individuals so quickly and indiscriminately.

I do believe we need to preserve our privacy -- and it's getting more difficult to do that. As "starting home" pointed out, "How would you feel if one of these cameras was at an intersection next to your home and it captured every time you left your driveway?

It's okay if police have their scanners, but this city must make sure they are used vary carefully all the t time -- this year, and next, and nets.
Diana



Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Oct 26, 2022 at 12:43 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Sorry to ask what might be a dumb question. If license plate readers become more commonplace, won't thieves just steal a car (or license plate) to make them incognito? I mean, they are very unlikely to want to use their personal vehicles to commit crime if their vehicle can be traced to track them.


Posted by marc665, a resident of Midtown,
on Oct 26, 2022 at 2:53 pm

marc665 is a registered user.

Do the readers report in real time? Are we going to have police chasing down cars whose registration has lapsed? Whose cars are not registered in Palo Alto, since we have to keep out the undesirables?

Will Palo Alto keep a record of who works in Palo Alto investigate why cars not on the list have entered the City?

/marc


Posted by Fred Warner, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Oct 26, 2022 at 3:05 pm

Fred Warner is a registered user.

"How would you feel if one of these cameras was at an intersection next to your home and it captured every time you left your driveway?"

How about your smartphone? Google and Apple are trackng every move you make unless the 'location' setting on ALL of your phone apps are disabled.

For the more privacy conscious, disabling the location settings should be first step on one's list prior to getting overly concerned about a surveillance camera on a street pole.

Do the privacy conscious also take issue with surveillance cameras at banks, court entrances, and shopping malls as well?

Only criminals and people with bad intent have a neurotic problem with surveillance cameras.


Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Oct 26, 2022 at 3:10 pm

staying home is a registered user.

@mike singleton: the fact that my personal information is sought by so many large corporations is all the more reason i should protect it.

Did a small bit of looking into this, the ALPRs are not preventing any crime. It takes an incident to occur where the license plate is reported. The PAPD can then use the ALPR information to help identify the owner and/or associate it with other possible crimes. For example, if a license plate gets ID'd at a shopping mall theft, ALPD can help determine if that license plate was near other shopping mall thefts in the past. Or what route they drove through the city to escape. Or if they are in other ALPR databases.

Its not preventing any crime, the claims are it helps solve them. Not worth it in my opinion. Rather see the money spent on more staff and community outreach programs at PAPD. Better still, solve the caltrain grade separation and utility grid upgrades that are desperately needed.




Posted by Haley Sessons, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Oct 26, 2022 at 3:26 pm

Haley Sessons is a registered user.

If these ALPDs are truly an infringement on personal freedom, the ACLU will get involved along with advocacy groups for people of color from lower socio-conomic backgrounds.

As another poster noted, your cellphone knows more about your comings and goings than any ALPD.


Posted by Bill Bucy, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 8:09 am

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

Having no expectation of privacy when walking or driving in public I look at this issue from a practical perspective. I doubt the benefit of the system is
great enough to justify the cost, particularly at a time when huge spending is needed for projects such as grade separation.


Posted by BDBD, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 8:34 am

BDBD is a registered user.

What if an ALPR were pointed directly at a synagogue, or at your own place of worship? Sure, cell phones of congregants might already track this GPS data (I usually turn off location services, personally), but cell phones don't send a rea-time list of all attendees directly to the police. That's how these ALPRs threaten freedom of association and freedom of religion.


Posted by Chanterelle Jackson, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 8:46 am

Chanterelle Jackson is a registered user.

Cost factors aside, the ALPRs are a pro-active measure on the part of the police to identify and discriminate against people of color who may or may not belong in certain areas where affluence tends to prevail (e.g. Stanford Shopping Center & the nicer Palo Alto neighborhoods).

It is yet another example of blatant racial profiling targeting black people driving expensive cars that again, may or may not belong to them.

ALPRs represent a numbers game geared towards stopping and apprehending a certain percentage of presumed suspects based on outward appearances.

Fiscal and liberal-minded Palo Altans should further address and question this matter as it is merely an electronic surveillance extension of southern police practices.

"If these ALPDs are truly an infringement on personal freedom, the ACLU will get involved along with advocacy groups for people of color from lower socio-conomic backgrounds."

^ Most likely...can Palo Alto afford yet another lawsuit, this time based on police-initiated racial profiling and unwarranted stops for questioning?


Posted by Fritz Turner, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 9:49 am

Fritz Turner is a registered user.

>...these ALPRs threaten freedom of association and freedom of religion.

^ Only if someone is doing something illegal...remember January 6th? If not for the Capitol surveillance cameras, many of the insurgents would have gone unidentified and un-prosecuted.

As for religious services, most people (including the police) don't care who's attending church or temple.

The ALPR could also prove one's innocence by recording their whereabouts at a given time of day.

It is a two-sided coin...freedom VS security.


Posted by Barron Parker Too, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 10:34 am

Barron Parker Too is a registered user.

Good that the City Council is taking this seriously. The benefit is high and the cost for installing these readers, both on major roads and in police vehicles, is relatively small. I hope the City Council acts expeditiously to greenlight this effective method for reducing both violent and property crime in Palo Alto.


Posted by Eeyore, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 10:49 am

Eeyore is a registered user.

Having “nothing to hide" is a bogus, long discredited argument. Do not fall for it.

Web Link


Posted by Gordon, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 11:27 am

Gordon is a registered user.

Well, let's see.....it is my understandng that our annual budget is ~$200M, so over 10 years that's $2B (that's billion). So am I concerned about spending $1.5M over 10 years on another tool for the police to use in their toolkit? Not so much.

Privacy - in small towns they have folks in rocking chairs on the porch - everyone knows what everyone else is doing. The point is, you should have no expectation of privacy when you are in public.


Posted by Neil, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 1:07 pm

Neil is a registered user.

This won't solve the problem they think it will. A screwdriver and 60 seconds are all it takes to put a different plate on.

People are already committing brazen thefts with license plates in full view, and when I've handed this surveillance footage to the police, wrapped up in a tidy bow, nothing happens. I've done this 8-10 times now.

Do you really want your vehicle to be scanned everywhere as you drive around town?

This is a net negative. Won't solve the problem, but it will surveil residents.


Posted by Gary Locke, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 2:36 pm

Gary Locke is a registered user.

"A screwdriver and 60 seconds are all it takes to put a different plate on."

^ In addition to tracking license plates, the better ALPRs can also capture a photo of the driver.

Since many of the recent Stanford Shopping Center thefts involved stolen vehicles with stolen plates, this added security measure will pinpoint certain drivers and thieves who are driving luxury vehicles they could not ordinarily afford.


Posted by Dave Harvey, a resident of another community,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Dave Harvey is a registered user.

If someone is going to be pre-judged by their outward appearances, license plate readers, the police, and affluent white folks overly concerned about their BMWs and Rolexes being stolen, why bother being law-abiding when the judicial outcome will be a foregone conclusion?

While I am not advocating crime or saying that criminals are victims of society, a stacked socio-economic deck is often the instigator that triggers anti-social behavior and crime.

From a sociological perspective, the Italian, Irish, and Jewish mobs can trace their origins to this economic inequality as can Hispanic, African American, and Chinese gangs.

America created this problem.


Posted by JB, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Oct 27, 2022 at 8:49 pm

JB is a registered user.

When I listened to the city council discussion Monday night, it was mentioned that about 20 license plate readers would be bought. They mentioned sensors at entrance to the city from neighboring cities, along University Avenue, and along El Camino. If I understood correctly, a stolen license plate (apparently many crimes recently have involved stolen cars) passing a sensor would trip some sort of alert (I'm not sure exactly how). Police could then be on the lookout for this stolen car. If a stolen car passes the sensor entering Palo Alto on University Avenue and decides to steal catalytic converters or enter homes in the nearby neighborhood, would police get there in time to prevent theft? Several recent thefts have occurred in the Stanford Shopping Center parking lots. Since Stanford is extremely wealthy, why don't they pay for extra security guards and roving security vehicles in the parking lots? Why does Palo Alto have to pay for this? A woman business owner on Emerson Street said that she paid about $2000 each for 2 sensors on her street, along with a fee of about $99 per month. She said she was happy with the results. This seems much less expensive than the police sensors. Can Apple, for example, do the same thing near their University Avenue location? I appreciated that Eric Filseth and Mayor Burt mentioned the importance of privacy for all people passing the sensors. The police said that license plate records would only be kept for 30 days. They said that this information would not be shared with federal agencies like ICE for deportation purposes. In one webinar I saw earlier this year, one town in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas (maybe McAllen??) has license plate sensors. These are being used by ICE to deport people. I know that our privacy has already been compromised through online data, but shouldn't we fully discuss this technology before giving up more of our privacy? I'm glad that the city council didn't finalize a plan at their last meeting.


Posted by Jerry Dahl, a resident of Downtown North,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 7:42 am

Jerry Dahl is a registered user.

If an ALPR detects an undocumented immigrant driving a stolen car and possibly involved in illegal activity, why shouldn't ICE be notified and the suspect (if found guilty) deported?

Are we still promoting sanctuary cities and condoning crime as per the more progressive mindsets?

Hopefully not.


Posted by Carol Johnson, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 8:12 am

Carol Johnson is a registered user.

ALPRs should be installed on all of the key freeway entrances leading out of Palo Alto (University Avenue, Embarcadero Road, and Oregon Expressway to assist the PAPD in apprehending suspected criminals leaving the jurisdiction in stolen cars and in possession of stolen/shoplifted goods.

Since most of these suspects are from out of town, the freeways are their most viable option of evading arrest and getting away.

The criminal element needs to be put on notice that they are not welcome in Palo Alto regardless of color, socio-economic background, and/or immigration status.

The ACLU tends to support and defend these types of individuals which is a mockery of American laws and common decency.


Posted by Loren Pfister, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 8:51 am

Loren Pfister is a registered user.

Reading these comments both pro & con, it appears that the ideal ALPRs should only read and record the license plates of people who do not reside in Palo Alto.

Would that be reasonable?

As Palo Altans, we have no moral or ethical obligation to protect the personal privacy of outsiders, some of whom are criminals and/or undocumented immigrants.

Perhaps some sort of chip can be embedded on the license plates of PA residents to negate being scanned or monitored.

For out-of-towners, it would be open season on police surveillance and they had better watch their step.

There's your win-win scenario.


Posted by Patrick Loughlan, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 9:06 am

Patrick Loughlan is a registered user.

@Loren Pfister
Excellent point...since Palo Alto residents rarely steal from or assault their fellow community members, all that is needed is an effective way to monitor the vehicular activities of potential thieves, assailants, and others who do not belong here outside of those who are shopping, dining, attending a Stanford football game, or visiting friends.

The key is to make Palo Alto an unwelcoming environment for outsiders with malevolent intent, like Los Altos does.


Posted by Harriette Goodman, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 10:05 am

Harriette Goodman is a registered user.

These Automated License Plate Readers though costly will assist the PAPD in apprehending suspected criminals escaping in stolen cars with stolen goods.

Good people don't steal from or assault others and the only ones who might take issue with this added surveillance are incorrigible repeat-offenders and/or ultra-liberal residents who are over-emphasizing the intrinsic value of their 'personal' privacy.

If the PAPD wants to capture a pic of my license plate as I am driving through Palo Alto, I have no problem with it.

For out-of-town vagrants, thieves, and assailants it might be another story.

To keep Palo Alto safer, outsiders need to be further scrutinized and the ACLU be damned.


Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 10:15 am

staying home is a registered user.

I love how the sentiment in these comments is that crime in PA is committed by "outsiders". With that logic, we should implement inspection booths at all entrances to PA to check residency. Trackers could be put on vehicles coming into the secure zone to ensure we know where they are at all times. In fact, the technology exists to register and track their phones inside the secure zone so if they leave their vehicle, we can immediately notify police to follow them.

To quote the great Carol Johnson: The criminal element needs to be put on notice that they are not welcome in Palo Alto regardless of color, socio-economic background, and/or immigration status.


Posted by Robyn Jeffries, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 11:18 am

Robyn Jeffries is a registered user.

> "To quote the great Carol Johnson: The criminal element needs to be put on notice that they are not welcome in Palo Alto regardless of color, socio-economic background, and/or immigration status."

^ What's wrong with that?

The "great Carl Johnson" was referring to the CRIMINAL ELEMENT.

@staying home...
Are you welcoming the 'criminal element' to have their way in Palo Alto?

If so, Palo Alto will never be safe.


Posted by Forrest McLain, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Forrest McLain is a registered user.

Despite the empathy expounded by some liberals and progressives, a watchful eye should be kept on the 'criminal element' even if it warrants additional surveillance.

Law-abiding Palo Alto citizens need not be overly concerned as the police are not seeking them out, only 'out of town' criminals driving stolen cars and looting luxury stores.

Carol Johnson's comment makes perfect sense as we should not be embracing crime with heartfelt condolences for the underclass who commit these felonies.


Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 1:39 pm

staying home is a registered user.

Does this sentiment of excluding the criminal element from PA extend to white collar crime as well? Can we get the same enthusiasm on Stanford Campus for sexual assault?


Posted by Claire Driscoll, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 2:05 pm

Claire Driscoll is a registered user.

@staying home...Stanford University might need some added surveillance as well but that is for the university officials to propose and implement. Sexual assaults are serious matters and upon arrest/conviction, the assailant(s) should be punished to the fullest extent of the law (i.e. lifetime imprisonment).

White collar crime tends to be non-violent offenses that involve graft, tax evasion, embezzlement, 'cooking the books' or insider trading.

Perhaps the undereducated criminal elements from poorer backgrounds and cities should consider getting a degree in accounting rather than resorting to physical violence which often results in physical injury or death.

A civilized society has no need for sociopaths and violent criminals regardless of their socio-economic background or ethnicity.

And those who cannot adhere to the simple requirement of maintaining human decency should be locked-up upon conviction.


Posted by Ardan Michael Blum, a resident of Downtown North,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 2:53 pm

Ardan Michael Blum is a registered user.

I get what they term “triggered" by each blog post I have seen by Diana Diamond about our city. She seems to live on some island in the Pacific Ocean. She upholds well the 1st Amendment's freedom to say stupid stuff.


Posted by Jennifer Blake, a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 3:18 pm

Jennifer Blake is a registered user.

Palo Alto could take a lesson from Los Altos from the standpoint that if one does not have a legitimate reason for being there, there is no cause to be there.

The LAPD ensures that certain undesirable elements are not welcome there and as a result, vagrancy and street-related thefts and assaults are minimal if at all.

Palo Alto and Los Altos are not tourist towns and both cities hold summer street fairs for countless out-of-towners to mingle about and explore the charms that each town offers.

That should be good enough for most people except maybe those with nefarious intentions.


Posted by Chuck Williams, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Oct 28, 2022 at 3:59 pm

Chuck Williams is a registered user.

Foothills Park, the annual Palo Alto Chili Cook-Off and Obon Festival are also legitimate reasons for visiting Palo Alto.

Shopping at Stanford Shopping Center offers another legitimate reason but the recent lootings and parking lot assaults/robberies provide an ongoing cause for concern.

The perceived affluence of Palo Alto tends to attract the undesirables and perhaps some form of criminal and/or vagrant profiling is needed to further ensure the safety of law-abiding visitors and residents.


Posted by Data is Forever, a resident of St. Francis Acres,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 12:30 am

Data is Forever is a registered user.

Every database any level of government used to gather data about us has been:
Misused by that agency in ways they promised it never would be used.
Kept far beyond the date this data was supposed to be deleted, some times forever.
Gathered in ways strictly forbidden by existing laws.
Illegally acquired by those who should not have it.
Given over to other governmental agencies to use as they see fit.
Incompetently gathered, stored and manipulated so the data is wildly inaccurate.
Accessed by government agents for personal use. (yes, another misuse case.)
An excuse to spend vast amounts of money with no proof it benefits the public.
Shrouded in secrecy to "protect" us.
Combined and correlated with other databases acquired from any source they want.
None if this should be news to anyone and if you are surprised by any of this, or you don't believe these facts, I suggest you go do some research on your own and you will find every bit of this is true.
For those of you doubters who have close friends or relatives in law enforcement, you can ask them directly. Just do it in person so you can see their faces as you ask.
Now, some will say "So what?"
OK, I know, I know, privacy is dead and we all let this happen.
This is just one more example of how we got here.
Just one little thought here, wasn't the "Right to Privacy" the foundation that "Roe" was based on?
Just saying.


Posted by Google Days, a resident of Mountain View,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 6:20 am

Google Days is a registered user.

Yes, data collection of personal information has become standard operating procedure on a variety of fronts whether it be personal banking, social security, credit cards, purchasing patterns, TV/cable viewership, Medicare, DMV, cellphone usage etc.

We have gone past the point of no return and there is no turning back.

So now it is the criminals, those flying below the radar or off the grid that we must be more concerned about as many of them are non-reporting parolees and repeat offenders.

If license plate readers are considered a violation of personal privacy among ordinary law-abiding citizens, then perhaps all parolees and released multiple offenders should be embedded with a tracking chip upon release from state prison to establish their whereabouts in times of question or for the duration of their parole.

It should also be noted that upon conviction and subsequent parole, felons surrender certain basic rights including the right to carry a firearm, their 4th Amendment unlawful search & seizure rights, and in some instances/areas...voting.

It's no wonder that countless repeat offenders in violation of their parole do not appreciate tracking devices like ALPRs, security cameras, and ankle monitors.

Only soft on crime progressives defend the 'humane' rights of convicted violent offenders (i.e. murderers, rapists, child abusers, armed robbers etc.) and shorter sentencing guidelines have led to even more crime on our streets.

Fear not Dear Reader for if you are an ordinary law-abiding citizen, the proposed ALPRs will not radically alter your life as one's personal privacy has already been compromised to a vast extent.


Posted by Bill Tate, a resident of Los Altos,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 7:15 am

Bill Tate is a registered user.

With the holiday shopping season approaching, there will most likely be more retail lootings and parking lot assaults/robberies by 'outsiders' venturing into the midpeninsula.

And to further stimulate post-pandemic retail sales, many stores are now promoting additional Black Friday shopping opportunities.


Posted by Online Shopper, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 7:50 am

Online Shopper is a registered user.

What I don't quite understand are the reported Apple Store lootings.

The on-display iPhones, iPads, and iMacs all have security-lock codes rendering them useless to anyone who does not have access to these codes.

What is the point behind these in-store 'smash and grab' lootings of Apple products?

If black market sales are the primary objective, who would buy a hot iPhone that cannot be activated for functionality?

On the other hand, stolen BMWs, Rolexes, Hermes/Vuitton handbags and Nike Air Jordans are another matter as they are universally fancied by 'shoppers' from outside areas.

Hopefully this proposed city investment in ALPRs will curtail such activities by apprehending the thieves before they can leave the Palo Alto premises.


Posted by Helen Capers, a resident of Atherton,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 8:20 am

Helen Capers is a registered user.

I am all for Automated License Plate Readers and additional surveillance cameras at public places as a continuing community effort to apprehend violent criminals trying to escape the law.

Having once witnessed a store looting from a distance, these thieves are like wild animals fighting over a dead carcass and unworthy of redemption or any rehabilitation efforts as many are repeat offenders.

Be safe out there.


Posted by Bill Bucy, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 8:41 am

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

"Outsiders." "Undesirable elements." "Undereducated criminal elements from poorer backgrounds." Sounds like dog whistling to me.


Posted by Esther Riesman, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 9:21 am

Esther Riesman is a registered user.

@ Bill Bucy
Speaking as a widow of a former sociology professor, while there are countless "outsiders" who come to Palo Alto for various reasons of their own, Palo Alto's overall commitment to acceptance & diversity should negate any localized concept of "undesirable elements" as it is both politically incorrect and unbecoming for enlightened Palo Altans to express such sentiments in public.

As for "Undereducated criminal elements from poorer backgrounds", in many instances this is the case as the reported crimes generally involve suspects traveling from the poorer areas outside of Palo Alto who apparently lack a higher education or common sense. These individuals are not typical of most upwardly-mobile Palo Alto residents.

With gas being so expensive nowadays, perhaps the lootings and robberies will subside.


Posted by Ephron Weiss, a resident of Community Center,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 11:34 am

Ephron Weiss is a registered user.

Don't be fooled...the self-professed liberals who supposedly make up most of Palo Alto fly the woke flag of social justice but in private many speak like Jim Crow racists.


Posted by Li Zhiang, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 11:44 am

Li Zhiang is a registered user.

It is no longer safe to walk the streets alone after-hours in Palo Alto or to shop at Stanford Shopping Center.

We are moving to Los Altos.


Posted by Roger Beckham, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 2:49 pm

Roger Beckham is a registered user.

All this concern about the proposed automated license plate readers is much ado about nothing outside of projected cost considerations.

Unless one is a recluse or hermit, we are being monitored everyday by some form of surveillance device.

Advanced facial recognition technology will be the next development and in the future, law enforcement officers will be issued clip-on photo-sensors (smaller than a dime and Bluetooth operational) that can quickly identify persons of interest based on DMV pics, FBI posters, and/or prior jail/prison mugshots.

Our smartphones are already capable of facial recognition and to integrate this concept into a compact and supplemental police ID tool will be a technological cakewalk.

Perhaps only those on parole/probation, with prior arrest records and/or outstanding arrest warrants need be concerned.


Posted by Xiu Zhao, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 4:42 pm

Xiu Zhao is a registered user.

> Advanced facial recognition technology will be the next development..."

Development of such technology is already underway and when implemented, it will further assist government officials in identifying political dissidents and human rights activists.


Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of JLS Middle School,
on Oct 29, 2022 at 10:02 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Ah, so this is where the "But I have a (insert color/ethnicity of your choice here) friend so I'm not racist. I'm just moving to make more room for people of color and ethnicity in PA" crowd hangs out!

But I am dying to know... is Los Altos the poor man's Atherton?

I especially enjoyed this comment, "With gas being so expensive nowadays, perhaps the lootings and robberies will subside." Brings to mind Mormon Crickets.

@Bill Bucy, that's the Mayberry RFD whistle you hear. Mayberry is a fictitious town made famous by Andy Griffith. It was named after a real place, called Mt. Airy in North Carolina, which is "Up South". I've been there, and it's got everything Palo Alto has except everybody's broke. I found no surveillance going on, no suspicion of "outsiders". It's the kind of small southern town where you would expect to find the color lines severely drawn and monitored. But comparing it to PA, Mt. Airy is a veritable banquet of hospitality. Whoda thunk it.

@Online Shopper ... I have to wonder if after a non-local is spotted entering the city limits but not spotted leaving the city limits, what's the waiting period before a posse is formed to find them and run them out of town on a rail?


Posted by Lori Bush, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 8:14 am

Lori Bush is a registered user.

@MyFeelz
Though Mayberry, NC is a fictitious town, I never saw an African American actor/actress on either the Andy Griffith Show or Mayberry RFD. Maybe they were more concentrated in Mt. Pilate?

North Carolina does have Fort Bragg (US Army) and Camp Lejeune (US Marines) so it would be unfair to say that African American citizens are not welcome there.

Palo Alto does have Stanford University which has a well-tenured African American football coach (David Shaw) and several black student-athletes on the team.

This is a step in the right direction wouldn't you say?


Posted by Mathilda Bascom, a resident of Community Center,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 8:57 am

Mathilda Bascom is a registered user.

MyFeelz...yesterday is long gone. At one time Palo Alto was kind of like Mayberry but times have changed.

I attended Addison Elementary before many of the other Palo Alto public schools were built (with the exception of Palo Alto High School). We had May Day festivities at school and children gleefully danced around a May Pole to celebrate the arrival of spring. Dr. Henry M. Gunn was school superintendent at the time and he would occasionally stop by to check in on the classes.

Those were the good old days in Palo Alto and we can never go back in time.

There were very few African American residents and those that did live in Palo Alto resided mostly in the Ventura neighborhood and attended the old Mayfield School on El Camino Real where the soccer fields are now located.

A few other African American families resided on a small segregated street in Crescent Park where they served as domestics for well-to-do white middle class families.

The police station was located on Bryant Street in downtown and even had its own jail. In those days, many of the police officers, firemen, and teachers also resided in Palo Alto.

The old wooden Carnegie Library on Hamilton was eventually replaced by the current City Hall building and nearly everyone in PA shopped at one time or another at Werry Electric, Roos Brothers, Crescent or Adolph's Bakery, Dick Felt's Store for Boys, Rucker's Uniform Shop (for domestic attire), Thoits Shoe Store, and Palo Alto Hardware among many other noteworthy establishments. This was before Stanford Shopping Center and Town & Country were built.

You could also buy a new car in Palo Alto as there were downtown Pontiac/GMC, Ford, and Cadillac/Oldsmobile dealerships.

At one time Palo Alto was just another nice predominantly white middle-class town where everyone accepted others providing one was courteous and knew their place.

There were no outsiders to scrutinize and everyone was welcomed by the various retail establishments.


Posted by Ashley Jenkins, a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 9:24 am

Ashley Jenkins is a registered user.

@Mathilda Bascom: Your lovely recollections of post World War II Palo Alto sound so idyllic as Palo Alto is now a far cry from that today. Had Palo Alto retained its past character, we most certainly would have considered it as a place to live and raise our children.

Unfortunately, Palo Alto is now like a child who has outgrown his/her clothes with no new apparel on the horizon. It has become overbuilt, overly congested, and a welcoming nest for retail crimes and physical assaults perpetuated by non-residents.

The LAPD uses ALPR technology and we do not have the same crime rates as Palo Alto...for that we count our blessings.


Posted by Ken Bouchard, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 9:47 am

Ken Bouchard is a registered user.

Whether Palo Alto has racist past is debatable but those who venture into Alta Mesa Cemetery will notice that there are older and separate burial sections set aside or originally designated for white people, Asians, and African Americans.

As far as incorporating the police use of ALPRs, these devices are colorblind and cannot be accused of racism.


Posted by Anna Marie Peterson, a resident of another community,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 10:29 am

Anna Marie Peterson is a registered user.

I attended the old Mayfield Elementary School during the late 1950s.

As I recall, the PAUSD was very progressive at the time and in addition to discouraging the use of racial taunts and disparagements, it also provided speech therapy classes for African American students in an effort to improve their vernacular by de-emphasizing the use of various colloquialisms and pronunciations commonly associated with their backgrounds.

My African American classmates enjoyed this program as it allowed them to leave the classroom for an hour once a week to play 'word games' with the instructor.

Things are different today as Ebonics, Rastafarian, and rap/hip-hop dialects have become popular and widely accepted as a whole.

Back to topic, do these automated license plate readers pose an actual threat to society or are they merely a technological advancement to deter crime?


Posted by Rachel Stein, a resident of Stanford,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 11:29 am

Rachel Stein is a registered user.

Forcing black children to speak like 'white folks' is yet another example of racist ethnic cleansing.

Did the the PAUSD initiate a speech program for white schoolchildren to forsake their ancestor's regional dialects?

The ALPRs are yet another race-based effort to entrap poorer people of color who also covet the nicer material belongings that other more privileged individuals feel entitled to.


Posted by Carolyn Proctor, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Carolyn Proctor is a registered user.

@Rachel Stein
There is nothing wrong with encouraging our schoolchildren to enunciate their words properly as it promotes a more comprehendable and effective degree of communication.

It also reflects a higher level of intelligence and grammar on the part of the speaker or writer.

As a former high school English teacher, I have always emphasized the importance of speaking and writing in a clearcut manner.

Pigeon and/or butchered English have no place in a modern and civilized America.


Posted by Brenda Frazier, a resident of Professorville,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 1:19 pm

Brenda Frazier is a registered user.

@MyFeelz
Trying to compare modern-day Palo Alto to some backwoods enclave in North Carolina is a bit of a stretch.

Chances are Mt. Airy is not experiencing a population surge, 'visiting' criminals, a shortage of available housing. and a plethora of ostensible progressive mentalities.

While Palo Alto Past is gone forever, there is no reason not to take a cue from our predecessors who strove to create a cohesive community where everyone got along by 'knowing their place' (as Mathilda Bascom noted) and not rocking the boat with petty controversies.

Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife did not need ALPRs because Mayberry was not inundated with the same social problems (i.e. homelessness) and outside crime waves Palo Alto is experiencing.


Posted by Jessica Lee, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 2:15 pm

Jessica Lee is a registered user.

If more stores at Stanford Shopping Center had security entrances where customers are beeped in, there would be fewer smash and grab robberies because store employees could scrutinize the entrants prior to letting them in.

My husband has been pricing the cost of hiring a military-trained, armed body guard to accompany me to the parking lot after shopping and the fees are quite reasonable, roughly $60.00-$100.00 per hour.

In Los Angeles, armed bodyguards are more plentiful and reasonably priced at $25.00 to $65.00 per hour.

That's about the best we can do other than relegating ourselves to online shopping.

We have decided that if one can afford to drive a BMW and shop at stores like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Tiffany & Co. and Shreves, what's an extra $200.00 for two hours to ensure our safety and maintain possession of our purchases?

This is the only way to curtail the installation of ALPR surveillance devices..


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 4:11 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

If we continue to allow each ethnicity to have their own pronounciation, grammar, idioms and definitions of all words, we will soon be a country with so many different languages that we will lose the ability to communicate.

This is not the way MLK envisioned his children who would not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character. Perhaps today he would say they should not be judged by their accents and word choice, but their ability to communicate well with anyone and everyone in society.


Posted by Ryan Prescott, a resident of another community,
on Oct 30, 2022 at 4:32 pm

Ryan Prescott is a registered user.

Judging someone by their intellect and personal integrity rather than accents or enunciation are far more accurate yardsticks from which to measure (or value) a person's sense of worth.

Too bad the ALPRs cannot gauge character and IQ.


Posted by Ahmet Masoud, a resident of another community,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 6:04 am

Ahmet Masoud is a registered user.

The question we must ask ourselves is where does privacy begin and where does it end from the standpoint of surveillance measures implemented to protect society.

What is acceptable and what is considered off-limits?

These are questions that need to be addressed lest we end up with a society similar to that in The Squid Game.


Posted by Harold Fredericks, a resident of Downtown North,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 8:04 am

Harold Fredericks is a registered user.

Decide for yourselves if ALPRs are necessary...

Automated license plate readers (ALPRs) are high-speed, computer-controlled camera systems that are typically mounted on street poles, streetlights, highway overpasses, mobile trailers, or attached to police squad cars. ALPRs automatically capture all license plate numbers that come into view, along with the location, date, and time. The data, which includes photographs of the vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers, is then uploaded to a central server.

Vendors say that the information collected can be used by police to find out where a plate has been in the past, to determine whether a vehicle was at the scene of a crime, to identify travel patterns, and even to discover vehicles that may be associated with each other. Law enforcement agencies can choose to share their information with thousands of other agencies.

Taken in the aggregate, ALPR data can paint an intimate portrait of a driver's life and even chill First Amendment protected activity. ALPR technology can be used to target drivers who visit sensitive places such as health centers, immigration clinics, gun shops, union halls, protests, or centers of religious worship.

Drivers have no control over whether their vehicle displays a license plate because the government requires all car, truck, and motorcycle drivers to display license plates in public view. So it's particularly disturbing that automatic license plate readers are used to track and record the movements of millions of ordinary people, even though the overwhelming majority are not connected to a crime.


Posted by Tyrelle Holmes, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 8:29 am

Tyrelle Holmes is a registered user.

> Decide for yourselves if ALPRs are necessary...

These surveillance cameras are unconstitutional and the blatant violations should be addressed in the SCOTUS by the ACLU and privacy rights advocates.

Don't be hoodwinked by law & order proponents who contend that ALPRs will protect society from criminals.

They are mounted everywhere and serve no purpose other than to infringe upon our daily lives by keeping a watchful eye on everyone's coming and goings.

Now the cops want them mounted on their squad cars. For what purpose? To further harass people of color with dubious claims of probable cause?

If the pole-mounted ALPRs are connected to a central server and offer quick access, there is absolutely no need for readers mounted on individual patrol cars.

This is a racist endeavor perpetrated by racist police departments.


Posted by Mildred Callahan, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 8:51 am

Mildred Callahan is a registered user.

As if police radio encryption wasn't enough, now we are going to have additional visual monitoring of everyday citizens driving their cars?

Palo Alto residents who strongly believe in the sanctity of their First Amendment rights should confront the PACC and admonish the council for even considering such an obvious infringement of personal privacy.

With additional ALPRs the police are further infiltrating into our daily lives and who wants that?


Posted by Bobbie Ryerson, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 9:56 am

Bobbie Ryerson is a registered user.

In lieu of additional ALPRs and their related expenses, the PACC could simply approve a measure to issue temporary guest passes to non-resident visitors.

By charging a nominal fee for these passes, additional city revenue would be generated and visitor applicants could be vetted for any past crimes and midemeanors or parole status.

The other option would be for the city to issue car window stickers designating the driver as a resident of Palo Alto. These stickers would of course be free of charge and available to any Palo Alto resident regardless of their race, color, or creed.

Being a progressive city, Palo Alto has the collective brainpower to implement a workable security system that does not infringe upon individual privacy rights.


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 10:20 am

Bystander is a registered user.

License plates in America are really attached to the owner of the car, rather than the vehicle itself. Any time a car is sold or even changes state, the plates are changed. The only number that is attached to the vehicle itself is the VIN number and that is not displayed where it could easily be read.

In European countries, the plates are attached to the car and remain with the car for the life of it regardless of how many times it is sold.

Perhaps in this land of innovation, we should change the VIN number to a chip which could be read.

Just an idea, but to think we have privacy when we drive anywhere when our phones and other devices, including our GPS, know exactly where we are and can report back to Big Brother.


Posted by Neomi Weiss, a resident of Professorville,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 11:14 am

Neomi Weiss is a registered user.

To rejuvenate and stimulate the American economy, a substantial growth in retail sales is very important regardless of where the goods are manufactured.

Retailers insure their merchandise against theft so it is immaterial whether these goods are legitimately purchased or stolen.

To increase surveillances via ALPRs is pointless as the police are not going to cover any of the related retail loss expenditures, let alone successfully apprehend all of the alleged perpetrators once they have fled.

Lastly and speaking as a person of Jewish ancestry, @Bobbie Ryerson...your suggested car stickers and guest passes are no different than someone being forced to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing to designate them as undesirable and unworthy individuals.


Posted by Data is Forever, a resident of St. Francis Acres,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 11:26 am

Data is Forever is a registered user.

@Bystander, You should really check your facts.
I don't know where you have lived before, but in California and Oregon, the states I know well, the plates are tied to the cars and do follow the car around from owner to owner. The plates on all of my current cars, my wife's cars and cars my family in Oregon have owned, have come from at least 2 or 3 prior owners. The only time I ever got a "new" plate was the one and only time I actually bought a new car and when I eventually sold that car the, then 30 year old, plates went with the car and still has them now.
The databases you mentioned are NOT operated by governmental agencies with the power to arrest you and convict you or any other innocent person of a crime.
The companies who gather our data to make money off of us are highly motivated to do this well and keep it as secure as they can and only sell it if that is profitable. The sold data needs to have high accuracy to be worth the money they get paid for it.
Governmental agencies are extremely incompetent in the gathering and storage of the data they gather. They don't have a financial benefit from the accuracy of the data and they don't care if it leaks or gets abused. If this data is wildly mismanaged and ends up accusing innocent people of crimes, the government is fine with that. Governmental agencies have abused and messed up every single database they have ever gathered. And they have illegally gathered data and illegally used data.
In cases of people who owe parking tickets, the plates get scanned and if any car or plate the DMV believes you still own happens to have a ticket on it, your current car is subject to potential booting or towing if the outstanding tickets are above a certain limit. This can include the cars driven by your wife or child or some other relative you co-signed for.
Again, governmental databases are fundamentally different.


Posted by Florin Hanson, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 11:32 am

Florin Hanson is a registered user.

If people weren't so superficially attached to petty material goods (Rolexes, BMWs, Hermes handbags et al) we wouldn't be having this conversation as both parties (owners and thieves) would find other more redeeming outlets and activities to justify their existence.

Only plastic people fret about such irrelevant losses or the pursuit of them.


Posted by Jenna Lockridge, a resident of another community,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 4:34 pm

Jenna Lockridge is a registered user.

• "Outsiders." "Undesirable elements." "Undereducated criminal elements from poorer backgrounds." Sounds like dog whistling to me.

^ Dog whistles aside, has the current reportage of these smash & grab store lootings, parking lot robberies, and physical assaults in Palo Alto established any reoccurring perpetrator patterns?

As a Criminal Justice major, I am curious...(1) are these crimes being perpetrated by a small number of Palo Alto residents or from people venturing into Palo Alto from other locales? (2) and if apprehended, how many are repeat offenders and committing parole violations?

If these crimes are being committed by non-Palo Alto residents with prior arrest records, it is understandable that some Palo Alto residents are not taking too kindly to them.


Posted by Jim Ernst, a resident of another community,
on Oct 31, 2022 at 4:55 pm

Jim Ernst is a registered user.

Barring an personal epiphany of sorts (e.g. witnessing a tragedy, experiencing a spiritual awakening, or karmic awareness etc.) criminality tends to be an ingrained behavior and full rehabilitation rarely successful.

It is no different than trying to domesticate a wild coyote or wolf.

ALPRs only pose a direct threat to criminals. Law-abiding people needn't be overly concerned.


Posted by Eeyore, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Nov 1, 2022 at 7:47 am

Eeyore is a registered user.

There are whistleblowers, reporters, dedicated environmentalists, etc, etc, whose activities are put in danger by widespread, indiscriminate surveillance by law enforcement and government. Stop already with the whining about “my safety trumps everything because I am law abiding and have nothing to hide". The world is a wider place than this little feathered nest called Palo Alto and doesn't revolve around us. If our democracy does fail, the last thing you want is a vast security apparatus that tracks the activity of the populace wherever it may go. Palo Alto holds itself up as a liberal bastion while holding a rotten conservative core.


Posted by Alan Morrison, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 1, 2022 at 7:53 am

Alan Morrison is a registered user.

> (1) are these crimes being perpetrated by a small number of Palo Alto residents or from people venturing into Palo Alto from other locales?

^ If you are referring to the Stanford Shopping Center retail lootings, parking lot robberies & assaults, reportages issued by the police and local media indicate the perpetrators are from areas outside of Palo Alto. Antioch and Oakland have been mentioned.

>> (2) and if apprehended, how many are repeat offenders and committing parole violations?

^ The perpetrators that have been identified or arrested are generally repeat offenders and parole violators.

>>> Barring a personal epiphany of sorts (e.g. witnessing a tragedy, experiencing a spiritual awakening, or karmic awareness etc.) criminality tends to be an ingrained behavior and full rehabilitation rarely successful.

^ This is generally true pending some form of reckoning. The violent nature of these crimes clearly indicate violent anti-social personalities that must be kept under wraps by extended imprisonments in order to protect innocent, law-abiding citizens.

It does not take a Dr. Phil, Kojak, or Dick Tracy to establish this premise.


Posted by Clyde Morrisey, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove,
on Nov 1, 2022 at 8:21 am

Clyde Morrisey is a registered user.

While ALPRs might constitute an invasion of privacy for decent, law-abiding citizens, ensuring the privacy of violent criminals to go about their illegal activities is also unacceptable and poses an ongoing public safety threat to Palo Alto residents and shoppers.

The only alternative to ALPR expansion is to initiate an effective 'profiling' system that some progressives might find discriminatory.


Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Nov 1, 2022 at 8:41 am

staying home is a registered user.

ALPR is not preventing any crime. Its tracking a vehicle after the fact to associate it to other locations where crime has occurred. It's presence is not an effective deterrent.


Posted by Michaela Forrest, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Nov 1, 2022 at 8:47 am

Michaela Forrest is a registered user.

"Outsiders." "Undesirable elements." "Undereducated criminal elements from poorer backgrounds."

• Aren't these individuals the ones who in fact are perpetuating crime in Palo Alto?

• Rarely (if not at all) do we ever read or hear of Palo Alto residents being arrested for store lootings and parking lot robberies.

• If ALPR readings can serve to pre-empt these types of crimes, why not?

"There are whistleblowers, reporters, dedicated environmentalists, etc, etc, whose activities are put in danger by widespread, indiscriminate surveillance by law enforcement and government."

• Seriously? Palo Alto is not Mynamar, the Ukraine, Iran, the PRC or a former nuclear testing site.

"Palo Alto holds itself up as a liberal bastion while holding a rotten conservative core."

• Your harsh analysis of Palo Alto sounds more like a general discription of Stanford University.


Posted by Phyliss Weaver, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 1, 2022 at 8:56 am

Phyliss Weaver is a registered user.

> ALPR is not preventing any crime. Its tracking a vehicle after the fact to associate it to other locations where crime has occurred. It's presence is not an effective crime deterrent.

? ALPRs can be an effective crime deterrent by alerting the police to stop and question anyone who might have been associated with or involved in a prior crime.

ALPRs are not racist, just a 'seeing-eye' that reads license plates.


Posted by Eeyore, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Nov 1, 2022 at 9:49 am

Eeyore is a registered user.

>• Seriously? Palo Alto is not Mynamar, the Ukraine, Iran, the PRC or a former nuclear testing site.

Yes, seriously. We all have to be aware of what is happening in the greater world and take action to support the greater good. That is what Palo Alto is trying to do with the misguided natural gas restrictions.

Local thieves could well be using the encrypted messaging service Signal along with freedom fighters in Ukraine.

Our whiners would be the first to advocate for a police back-door to read those messages. ALPRS are not racist, but they certainly enable racist behaviors.

It would just take throwing a switch to remove the anonymity from the express lanes and start mailing automated tickets to everyone going five miles over the limit. I can see some people rooting for that outcome.


Posted by Katrina Donaldson, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 1, 2022 at 10:13 am

Katrina Donaldson is a registered user.

"Local thieves could well be using the encrypted messaging service Signal along with freedom fighters in Ukraine."

^ Given one of the implied descriptions of the shopping center robbers as "Undereducated criminal elements from poorer backgrounds.", it is highly unlikely that these individuals possess the skills (or intelligence) to hack into a fully embedded global communication system.

Many of them just steal a car, switch license plates, and head to high-end shopping centers armed with a hammer and/or an unregistered firearm.

It is pure folly to compare and justify the actions of common criminals with those of intrepid journalists and political whistleblowers.


Posted by Mick Goren, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Nov 1, 2022 at 11:15 am

Mick Goren is a registered user.

Regardless of who or what ALPRs track, if these electronic license plate readers discourage criminals from entering Palo Alto with ulterior motives so be it.

It has nothing to do with racism because perpetrators regardless of their color or ethnicity make the ultimate decision whether to steal from or assault others.

Most Palo Altans will concur that we do not want "Outsiders." "Undesirable elements." or "Undereducated criminal elements from poorer backgrounds" inundating our fair city and potentially harming the lives of decent people.


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