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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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Will auto license plate readers really curtail crime? Or will our privacy be endangered?

Uploaded: Apr 6, 2023
NOTE: I originally reported the council voted 5-2 to approve the use of ALPR techhnology implementation. The actual vote was 7-0. I apologize for the error.)

Palo Alto will soon have more photos taken of auto license plates, as well as the make and model of cars around town, thanks to the City Council’s approval this week to purchase 20 new license plate readers. They can either be attached to police cars that can roam the city (one reader-equipped police SUV already does that) or they can be installed as fixed cameras in various selected spots around town, to read and record plates 24x7.
Initial plans call installation of license plate readers at Stanford Shopping Center, along California Avenue, in the downtown, and at busy intersections. Once functioning, they can capture the license plates of residents and nonresidents driving along our streets. The readers feed the information automatically into a database to cross-reference against a "hit list" of stolen and wanted vehicles. When there’s a match, police will be quickly notified.

The council hopes this will stop crimes, especially car burglaries, thefts and stealing catalytic converters.
But I’m uncomfortable about the license readers. I feel it is another method to allow the police here to track where residents and others are driving around this city, and that scares me. Why? Because while readers may (or may not) protect public safety, the process can easily lead to violations of our privacy and civic liberties. Given these times, I feel any effort to erode our rights and liberties is dangerous, investigation.

The city will sign a $174,000 three-year contract with Flock Safety for the cameras and software equipment, who will also keep the photos on file for 30 days.

Two of the council members spoke against this purchase – Vice Mayor Greer Stone and Vicki Veenker. Both said they were concerned about the Police Department's plan to have its contractor storing the license plate data and potentially sharing data with other jurisdictions.

I am concerned, too. Who can access the data – anyone? Palo Alto police and all neighboring police departments? Council members? Me?

(The city's communications officer, Meghan Horrigan-Taylor responded to me, after this column was published, that council members and community residents will not have access to the data.)

The two also expressed concerns that people of color or other marginalized people might be tracked. And the council indicated it did not want public gatherings or demonstrators to be photographed. Good.
When asked, Police Capt. James Reifschneider told the council he had no data on what percentage of crimes the cameras could solve and he said that was an impossible question to answer. I would think other nearby communities already using these cameras would have some data. He also was asked how many stolen cars in other cities were recovered by using these cameras and the captain said no data was available.
So how do police know they work? Just asking.

Reifschneider also told council that one use would be to prevent thieves from stealing catalytic converters.
As a Prius owner who has twice had thieves steal my car’s catalytic converter in the middle of the night in front my house, I should be delighted that such an instrument could stop my next catalytic theft.
But the chances of that happening are iffy.

When my two catalytic converters were stolen (a year apart), the vehicle license readers would not have worked. The first time the theft occurred around 2 am. Our dog, who sleeps in our bedroom, suddenly ran to the window and started barking. My husband saw what was happening, opened the window and yelled at them, and told me in a very loud voice to call the police. But one guy got out from under my car and a black car, parked around the corner, suddenly revved up and picked him up.

A tow truck had to take my car to the Toyota repair shop so I could purchase, at what seemed like a high price, anew catalytic converter protector.

Then this past February, the dog had to go out at 4 a.m. to pee. My husband took him out, he did his thing, then suddenly ran into the house to the front living room and started barking furiously. My husband saw what was happening again, stood on the porch in his PJs, yelled at the man and told me to call the police. Again, a car parked around the corner came and picked up the man and my catalytic converter and drove away. The police arrived but the theft was over – that safety guard I bought from Toyota was ineffective. Again, it cost a lot of money to put on a new, “improved’ protector.

I hope the city council doesn’t just automatically purchase all the items the police department wants. I wish the police had more data how this equipment is working out in other towns and how successful it is in stopping crimes. The council did ask for a police report on the scanners a year from now. I wish it was in six months.

I certainly want to stop crime in our community (and elsewhere), and I agree that the scanners in parking areas like at Stanford Shopping Center could be helpful because so many autos constantly park there.

For me, this is not just an issue about trying to prevent robberies or to track people around town. It’s also a cause of concern as to whether civil rights and our privacy will be jeopardized, which I care more and more about.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Menlo Voter., a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Apr 6, 2023 at 12:46 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

It is long established law that one has zero expectation of privacy in public, so how can your privacy or your civil rights be violated by license plate readers. They have a function. I'm not sure they provide the intended outcome they are installed to provide, namely reducing crime, as it is easy to steal a license plate and put it on a vehicle being used in a crime, rendering the information worthless. That said, again, it is not a violation of privacy or civil rights for them to be installed or for them to collect data in public.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Apr 6, 2023 at 12:55 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

We've had license plate readers in our town since 2016. The residents were strongly in favor, but the political leaning out our way isn't the same. Here's what the Police Chief told the East Bay Times in 2017.

"We've had 31 arrests related directly to the ALPR system, there were 15 recovered stolen vehicles, and 11 more (arrests) came when other stolen property was recovered," Police chief Allan Shields told the Town Council on Sept. 19. I'm confident that none of those arrests would have been made without that system."

With the property crime rate as high as it is in Palo Alto, it makes sense to be in favor of anything that could deter crime, or at least lead to an arrest after the fact.

I don't care if my license plate is captured on camera. I'm on camera at the bank, at the store, etc. I like my privacy, but I'm not paranoid about it.

Our town spent over $800,000 for a lot more equipment in 2016, and if anyone complained, I never heard about it. Our town has a wealthy, Republican backround, and fighting crime is a priority.

Posted by Wesley James, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Apr 6, 2023 at 3:34 pm

Wesley James is a registered user.

Providing the LP database information pertaining to stolen vehicles is entered accurately this endeavor shouldn't pose a problem to law-abiding citizens BUT in the case of Hertz, they were sued $168M in a class action suit due to incorrectly and wrongfully reporting stolen rental vehicles.

Customers were wrongfully detained, arrested, & incarcerated in county jail due to these oversights on the part of Hertz. Enterprise is just as bad but hasn"t received the negative publicity that it also deserves when it comes to questionable reportages of car theft.

As for my personal vehicle (a late-model BMW) if someone steals it, I will get a reimbursement from my auto insurance company so I am unconcerned about theft, just the potential inconvenience.

The key is not to get overly attached to material things, especially a stupid car.

Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on Apr 6, 2023 at 6:06 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

I believe an important feature of the ALPRs is a deterrent effect. Today, criminals are using stolen cars/plates as their transportation means of choice to commit crimes. Knowing that ALPRs are present in an area and might result in the police trying to find them in town should reduce the attractiveness of PA as a target and provide real-time warning of at least some criminals in town.

Not sure how concern about "people of color or other marginalized people" comes into play here -- I don't think the Flock cameras can identify people inside the cars.

Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on Apr 6, 2023 at 6:08 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

Re: "it is easy to steal a license plate and put it on a vehicle being used in a crime" I believe the database also flags license plates reported stolen, so this shouldn't be a way to avoid the system.

Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on Apr 6, 2023 at 6:12 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

Finally, if the Flock system identifies make and model of the car as reported iirc, the system should flag license plate numbers that don't match the make and model (and perhaps color?) of the plate's registration.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 6, 2023 at 7:22 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

I can't comment on the idea that it will reduce crime.

I will say though that as for privacy, we have none. At least our cars don't. Have you noticed all the cameras on the express lanes on 101? They say they are just for the express lanes which they probably are, or are they? What about the same on the bridges?

As for parking garages, and any parking lot with 2 hour limit, the City uses license readers to check the length of time a vehicle is parked and whether they have moved somewhere else to make sure that cars are not being moved around town and parking for free.

So, privacy concerns? Not sure that should be a worry.

Posted by Deshaun Renfro, a resident of another community,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 9:01 am

Deshaun Renfro is a registered user.

* Not sure how concern about "people of color or other marginalized people" comes into play here -- I don't think the Flock cameras can identify people inside the cars.

The ALPRs cannot identify the actual names of the driver & passengers but depending upon the focal points of the reader, they are capable of capturing the skin color & general facial features of the driver & front seat passengers in question.

There is a potential for racial & ethnic profiling based on these parameters especially if the the suspects are in the run & trying to evade arrest.

A general description could lead to unwarranted police stops for questioning if the suspects happen to be people of color.

Given the widespread scale of documented police mistreatment towards African Americans in this country, the ALPRs will create a window of opportunity for 'probable cause' & subsequent police harassments & unlawful beatings.

These ALPRs could be seen more as a subtle 'deterrent' towards keeping black people out of Palo Alto under the guise of crime prevention.

Since Palo Alto has only a 1.9% population of African American residents, any numbers perceived to be larger than this figure will prompt further scrutiny on the part of the police and Palo Alto residents who are racists.

The best advice I can give to my son & his friends is, stay out of places like Palo Alto & Danville. Black people are not particularly welcomed or respected in these primarily white upscale communities and will be looked upon with suspicion and/or contempt.

** Our town has a wealthy, Republican backround, and fighting crime is a priority.

Rest assured. There are minimal reasons for any law-abiding person of color to ever venture into 'ethnocentric' locales such as Danville, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Orinda etc..

Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb.

Posted by Dennis Young, a resident of another community,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 9:27 am

Dennis Young is a registered user.

The most racially and ethnically diverse populations in California include Stockton, followed by Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach, San Jose, Los Angeles and Fresno.

Thus it comes as no surprise that population numbers withstanding, these cities also have higher crime rates compared to cities like Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Danville which are minimally integrated and costlier to reside.

The automated license plate readers are a security blanket for predominantly white communities.

Posted by Raoul Mendoza, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 9:40 am

Raoul Mendoza is a registered user.

Los Altos utilizes ALPRs both mobile and fixed.

As for the wealthier white communities in favor of this alleged crime prevention tool, it should be noted that in predominantly white communities such as Oroville and Barstow among others, the local police do not use such tracking devices.

These two cities are also predominantly white Republican.

Posted by Stefon Harris, a resident of another community,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 9:57 am

Stefon Harris is a registered user.

The fixed license plate readers should be stationed at all point of entry locations leading into Palo Alto.

This would include 101/Embarcadero, 101/Oregon, ECR/San Fransquito Creek, ECR/San Antonio Road, Foothill Expressway/Page Mill Road, 280/Page Mill Road, Central Expressway/Alma, Middlefield Road/San Antonio, and Middlefield Road/Willow Road.

That leaves 11 mounted devices for patrol cars and shopping center parking lots.

Creating a web of surveillance will create a crime deterrent and ideally this endeavor should be a joint effort with neighboring cities.

Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 10:20 am

staying home is a registered user.

If these ALPRs are to be a deterrent, then they should be bright colors with signs announcing their presence. Is PAPD posting signs?

These cameras are a tool for after the fact. After the car has been stolen and driven by a camera. After a smash and grab, home break in, catalytic converter theft. Where is the statistic that shows the % of stolen cars/plates used in the crimes committed in Palo Alto?

Where is the statement that this data is used exclusively by Palo Alto Police? Can this camera information be subpoenaed for other purposes?

Posted by Reese Lennox, a resident of Professorville,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 10:54 am

Reese Lennox is a registered user.

@staying home
Excellent points. There needs to be warning signs posted and full transparency on the distribution of such info.

These ALPR devices are indeed 'after the fact' monitoring devices and following a few wrongful stops of people of color by the PAPD, the ACLU, NAACP, and BLM will hit the City of Palo Alto with yet another civil rights/discriminatory lawsuit.

It wasn't that long ago when a former PA Chief of Police was promoting and endorsing racial profiling tactics under the guise of crime prevention.

All of this makes Palo Alto look like just another white racist community despite its lofty claim of socially conscious diversity and unity.

How hypocritical.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 11:25 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

ALPRs capture license plate numbers. Unless your license plate number is associated with a crime, they won't know the race of the driver. There is no expectation of privacy in public, and there's no logical reason to be against cameras capturing your plate number.

FWIW, Walnut Creek has gone "woke" and the crime rate has skyrocketed. Just like Palo Alto.

Posted by Fred Griffin, a resident of another community,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 12:22 pm

Fred Griffin is a registered user.

Walnut Creek has not become woke. The escalating crime rate is due to its proliferation of high-end retail stores (just like in Palo Alto).

To become jaded by conspicuous consumption is a recipe for crime regardless of whether the perpetrators rich or poor.

As another poster noted, the white Republican "law-abiding factor' is also prevalent in lower-end places like Oroville and Barstow but they do not have expensive retail stores that attract outside criminals.

Perhaps if Palo Altans and Danville residents placed less emphasis on the consumer-oriented ostentatious material world, the thieves would go elsewhere to plunder.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 12:39 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Fred, Walnut Creek HAS gone woke. Walnut Creek has been home to high-end retail since the 50s or 60s. Years ago, Broadway Plaza had I. Magnin and J. Magnin, which is more upscale than Nordstrom. The uptake in crime is blamed on the woke WC city council that ties the hands of WCPD.

Danville has high-end retail in the Blackhawk Plaza. Danville doesn't have escalating crime. It's a very low crime town, with a more conservative history in politics. it also has ALPRs.

Palo Alto is an easy target because it's a liberal city, and there's a difference in tolerance levels. Danville WON'T put up with it.

Posted by Carrie Layne, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 4:47 pm

Carrie Layne is a registered user.

Danville is a community comprised primarily of conservative, upper middle class white residents. It is not for everyone (i.e. liberal, free-thinking, and artistic individuals) just straight Republicans reminiscent of Mike Pence and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The more affluent Contra Costa County communities are a lot like the nicer parts of Orange County except there are no beaches to run too.

Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on Apr 7, 2023 at 5:42 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

@Dennis Young
I don't understand your seeming suggestion that racial/ethnic diversity causes increased crime. In any case, given that Palo Alto and Los Altos are 58% and 56% white, they are substantially non-white.

@staying home
Seems to me that the ALPR is more before-the-fact, identifying stolen cars and plates before criminals use them in committing the crimes like converter theft and burglary.

Posted by Sally Whitcomb, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 8, 2023 at 7:44 am

Sally Whitcomb is a registered user.

It depends on the type of the racial & ethnic diversity. Unlike Stockton, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Jose etc., Palo Alto & Los Altos are primarily comprised of law-abiding white & Asian residents.

Lastly, a stolen car cannot be identified as stolen until it is actually stolen and used for criminal purposes. ALPRs do not curtail the initial theft.

Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on Apr 8, 2023 at 8:35 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

@Sally I was just pointing out that it's silly to claim that ethnic diversity causes increased crime. In any case, all the cities mentioned in this thread are primarily comprised of law-abiding residents.

You're right of course about ALPRs working only after an initial car/plate theft; the hope is that the worry of getting stopped after that theft because of ALPR data would cut the use of such cars for other crime in Palo Alto.

Posted by Hinrich, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 8, 2023 at 10:49 am

Hinrich is a registered user.

Crime is definitely rising. We are less safe in places that were once very safe. Punishment is definitely declining. We've allowed opening the jails, reducing sentences, allowing longer rap sheets, suspending bail, reducing charging to misdemeanors, and tolerate activist DAs who have sharply reduced indictments - all for some promised benefit we are not yet seeing. Police are stretched thin and increasingly look for more surveillance tools. We can't complain about loss of privacy if we demand protection and are increasingly tolerant of crime. We are the problem. ‘Reimagining' policing has not yet proved any benefit so we install cameras.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 8, 2023 at 11:56 am

Bystander is a registered user.

The problem is that crime is rampant all over the Bay Area. We had a stabbing of a well known high tech exec in San Francisco this past week. Every evening on the news there is another murder, shooting, or violent incident. Stores are being robbed for either high end goods or drugstore basics. Homelessness, mental health issues, drugs and alcohol are at higher levels than ever before. Home robberies and catalytic converter robberies are seemingly increasing all the time.

The police are getting afraid to do anything in case individual officers are accused of things that may be part of their job. If they do anything, there are cell phone cameras on them instantly. Their body cameras record their actions too.

I don't know the answer, but basically California has to do something about crime prevention. People are getting scared to go to San Francisco for social gatherings. Leaving a car in a supposed safe area or garage is no guarantee of safety. Stopping at traffic signals can be a time when thieves break a window to steal from you or the vehicle itself.

I don't know the answer, but California has to do something about crime.

Posted by Wilhelm Stressel, a resident of another community,
on Apr 9, 2023 at 9:33 am

Wilhelm Stressel is a registered user.

These crime-related concerns are why countless Americans have chosen to arm themselves.

The police do not prevent crime...they only respond to its reportage.

It is up to the victim to decide whether to fight, flee, or simply report criminality to the police (after it has occurred).

47 states allow the LEGAL open-carry of firearms (excluding California, Illinois, and New York, all states with our nation's highest crime rates) and Florida now permits firearm ownership sans any restrictions (a bad idea).

Responsible firearm ownership and lawful discharge under extenuating circumstances provide a margin of personal safety.

ALPRs will not decrease the rate of stolen vehicles because the thieves and license plates have to be identified first via camera surveillance, in other words after the fact.

Posted by Carl Taylor, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 9, 2023 at 12:05 pm

Carl Taylor is a registered user.

The key to gun control in America is outlawing civilian use/access to assault weapons & semi-automatic handguns while promoting the legal ownership of more traditional firearms like double-barrel (or pump-action) shotguns and non-semi-automatic deer rifles.

As a youngster growing up in the Central Valley, we always had a shotgun & a 30.06 rifle mounted in the back of our pickup cabs and while this might not be advisable today, how many mass shooting tragedies today involve a shooter with an older, more traditional firearm line a Winchester Model 73 or 93 rifle?

The NRA should confront & endorse this reform while Congress should heighten restrictions for firearms sold to mentally unstable shooters like transgender terrorists and right-wing/white supremacist-inspired militia groups.

Only then will we have a safer American society...in the old days, horse & cattle thieves were hung no questions asked & the same should apply to car thieves.

Posted by Travis Jackson, a resident of another community,
on Apr 9, 2023 at 12:42 pm

Travis Jackson is a registered user.

ALPRs will be of assistance to police departments but there will be wrongful arrests in the process.

Also concurring that there needs to be a curtailment on the sales and distribution of semi-autonatic assault weapons.

Only the the military and proficiently-traibed police SWAT teams should have access to them because they are defending our nation against domestic terrorists, anti-American infidels, and in the case of the military, foreign enemies of which there are many.

I reside in rural Hollister and as law-abiding citizens, my family does not own any semi-automatic weaponry outside of a truck-mounted, hand-operated Gatling Gun (remember the Sam Peckinpaugh directed movie 'The Wild Bunch' starring William Holden) which is used to eradicate herds of feral pigs on ours and adjacent neighbor properties (at their request)...a very effective measure.

If one is a trained and skilled marksman, a semiautomatic AR-15 or handgun is unecessary to own. We get by fine with a 12 gauge shotgun, a 30.30 deer rifle, a .22 carbine, a 357 Magnum revolver and of course, our highly efficient and legal truck-mounted Gatling Gun.

Posted by Eva_PA, a resident of Ventura,
on Apr 10, 2023 at 10:36 am

Eva_PA is a registered user.

The crimes in Palo Alto recently are not just stolen cars and catalytic converter thefts. They are violent crimes: middle of the night break-ins with residents confronting intruders; young girls walking or riding bikes victimized by flashings and men touching themselves; daytime smash-and-grabs of storefronts both at Stanford Shopping center and University Av.; shoppers at Nordstrom being boxed in by two cars and held up at gunpoint in the middle of the day. Other shopping robbed at Stanford shopping center at their car. Residents walking down the street and getting beaten up for their cell phones. Not to mention sexual assaults and other assaults during the middle of the day.

There has been a marked increase in these violent crimes over the past few years. We as a city will need to keep tabs on numbers of false arrests and so forth. But It's time to try something new. Let's see what the license plate readers can do; hopefully just having them will deter future crimes.

Posted by cid , a resident of another community,
on Apr 10, 2023 at 11:10 am

cid is a registered user.

WEIGHING IN from the unincorporated MidCoast. I have nothing to fear, they can track me all they want as I go about my mundane life activities. I would hope that any one who "thinks" they are "uncomfortable" or who is opposed to these, should think about what could happen were criminals to know there is very light enforcement, if any, compared to communities that actually have these readers in place.
Palo Alto is known as a wealthy Community and starting many years ago, was targeted first by porch pirates, then organized retail theft (Apple Store) and more recently cat converters and shopping center follow-home invasions.
Feel as "uncomfortable" as you want, but please assist law enforcement any way that a community can, by allowing these extra tracking cameras. Think about not having a husband to holler at thieves in his PJ's from the front porch, ... and then how would you feel being targeted, over-and-over again by these cat converter thieves?

Posted by cid , a resident of another community,
on Apr 10, 2023 at 11:25 am

cid is a registered user.

One article I read said that they spotted trends with the readers, too. One group was using a rental car to commit crimes but when the police noted they were changing out the car on basically the end of each rental period, they simply went to the rental car company in Vallejo and staked the place out until the perps came and tried to rent a new car. BINGO! Do you think these readers re to record Soccer Mom's running errands around town? NO! They are to spot the out-of-the-area criminal element that goes for the low-hanging fruit in complacent wealthy communities. Don't worry about the people of color they might catch. The license plate readers are color blind, it's criminals they want to catch, and if POC are the perps, then so be it. Anyway, the readers will only be targeting people who drive cars to commit a crime, be they white, back, brown, yellow or rainbow-colored.

Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Apr 10, 2023 at 12:03 pm

KP is a registered user.

I don't see an issue with license readers - stolen cars are such an issue right now.
As for privacy - I don't think when we are outdoors we have any privacy as it is. All outdoor cameras are for our own safety and a slight deterrent for criminals - who cares about privacy outside!

Posted by Beverly Haas, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Apr 11, 2023 at 3:46 pm

Beverly Haas is a registered user.

If people didn't steal, we would not need ALPRs, watch dogs, guns, and/or prisons.

Since such a scenario is unrealistic, perhaps it is time to follow in the footsteps of El Salvador's president by arresting any/all suspected criminals and gang members and building a humongous 40,000 inmate capacity prison (the largest in all of Latin America) to house them.

People of El Salvador can now walk the streets safely and 90% of the Salvadorian population enthusiastically supports this measure which has come under fire by soft in crime human rights activists.

Now we no longer hear of El Salvadorians fleeing their country due to crime.

We could do the same in America.

Posted by Beverly Haas, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Apr 11, 2023 at 3:48 pm

Beverly Haas is a registered user.


If people didn't steal, we would not need ALPRs, watch dogs, guns, and/or prisons.

Since such a scenario is unrealistic, perhaps it is time to follow in the footsteps of El Salvador's president by arresting any/all suspected criminals and gang members WHILE building a humongous 40,000 inmate capacity prison (the largest in all of Latin America) to house them.

People of El Salvador can now walk the streets safely and 90% of the Salvadorian population enthusiastically supports this measure which has come under fire by soft ON crime human rights activists.

Now we no longer hear of El Salvadorians fleeing their country due to crime.

We could do the same in America.

Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of another community,
on Apr 11, 2023 at 7:08 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Now here I am disagreeing with Jennifer. What makes PA so attractive for crime is a mix of affluent homes, an upscale shopping center, and many ways in and out. 101, 280, and ECR. Most people, if you asked if they know where the Blackhawk neighborhood is, let alone Danville, would scratch their heads. The "high end retail" is pretty well hidden from most non-residents and it's not really accessible via any route that's not snarled with traffic. 680 is the only "getaway" route and nobody's gonna outrun a cop or sheriff coming out of Danville on 680. Not that PA doesn't have crappy traffic either but you can get through Danville easier with a bicycle than a car, and that makes it hard to tote your loot after burglarizing a business or a residence. Blackhawk Plaza mostly has eateries and spas, so unless a thief is stealing filet mignon or nail polish, not a whole lot to steal there. Unless you are talking about at the museum :) In that case it's the perfect crime, break into an antique car, stow your bike in the trunk and hotwire it and drive off. Perfect!

Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of another community,
on Apr 11, 2023 at 7:09 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

As for license plate readers violating our privacy, the purpose of a car license plate is to identify the car and the owner. So expectations of privacy should be very low.

Posted by Madison Lake, a resident of Stanford,
on Apr 13, 2023 at 4:59 pm

Madison Lake is a registered user.

Advances in technology will eventually allow for confirmation of driver ID ownership, vehicle registration, and insurance coverage via hidden sensors on the car.

No different than eSIMs on modern smartphones.

Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of another community,
on Apr 13, 2023 at 5:32 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Madison Lake, I found out last week that WalMart doesn't even make 99 cent sim cards any more. If you want a new one for a phone that was never "registered" by identifying you, you have to buy a $38 replacement kit that you have to register. As if I was going to spend $38 on a sim card to put in a $24 flip phone. I bought it years ago just as backup for traveling because at the time WalMart coverage was as good as trac-phone (which co-locates on every cell provider)but the walmart pre-paid plan was cheaper. But sometime between 2021 and 2023, they de-activated the old sim cards if they went out of service more than 2 months. The walmart dude said I could buy another flip phone that has a new sim card in it. I showed him my flip phone, the same exact one he was trying to sell me, with the sim card in it. He said, "yeah, they don't work any more. You have to register to use walmart family phone service." Uh yeah ... NO. I can see why it's necessary to register a $50k car. A $24 phone? Nuh uh. I asked why there's not an option just to register a phone that has gone out of service. He said because it's probably been stolen. A stolen flip phone. Jeebus.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 13, 2023 at 5:34 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

My top concern is safety. We seem to have a lot of crime of late in residential neighborhoods. We also have people parking here on residential streets while they have left for a vacation and do not want to pay for airport parking. The last thing we need is people who do not live here or have business here cruising the neighborhoods to see what is a quick steal - a bike. We do not have to sit here like pidgeons waiting to be plucked.

We pay for street cleaning but with no signage in the South sections people park on our streets like they have a designated parking place - their business will not provide space for them. I am not interested in people who park here in a residential neighborhood so they can walk to the gym. That gym is storing stuff in their garage so no space for the workers.

We need to get the everyday workers to park where they work.
We need more signage on the streets about street cleaning days.
We need a police substation in an obvious location on Fabien so they all understand that help is close by.
Add a substation for the CHP and Sheriff's on Fabien in a well advertised location.
We need to advertise and broadcast that we are a safety driven city and have eyes and ears on the total city.
Safety, safety, safety.

Posted by John Charles, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Apr 14, 2023 at 11:02 am

John Charles is a registered user.

This is great blog. I hope to read more of this

Posted by Rebecca Winslow, a resident of Downtown North,
on Apr 14, 2023 at 12:01 pm

Rebecca Winslow is a registered user.

@My Feelz
Very few people use flip phones anymore except for the elder Jitterbug crowd.

Don't let Walmart hold you hostage. Just switch to a different carrier.

Posted by Beatrice Collins, a resident of Community Center,
on Apr 15, 2023 at 9:29 am

Beatrice Collins is a registered user.

I am 80 years of age and use an Apple iPhone 13 with ease.

Many of my older friends and acquaintances still use flip phones because they cannot adapt to modern technology.

Typewriters, adding machines, and flip phones are archaic reminders of the past.

As for ALPRs, if these devices will assist in the apprehension of car thieves and criminals, why not use them?

There is no more privacy in America and to fret about it is quite useless.

Posted by Ariel Pascal, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Apr 15, 2023 at 11:51 am

Ariel Pascal is a registered user.

According to the local news and police reportage, most of the perpetrators coming into Palo Alto to steal and loot from retail stores or assault Palo Alto residents are people of color from outside areas in stolen cars or vehicles with altered license plates.

The ALPRs will hopefully curtail such offenses.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 15, 2023 at 1:42 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

The latest flip phones are now called foldable phones.

Posted by Bradley Gaines, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 16, 2023 at 10:19 am

Bradley Gaines is a registered user.

Modern foldable phones are actually folding smartphones and a far cry from a small-screen AARP recommended Jitterbug with physical buttons.

Even the more technically-advanced Blackberries with QWERTY keyboards (once an Obama favorite) are obsolete.

The Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and Google smartphone offerings are the only brands worth considering because many of the off-brand phones made in the PRC are full of spyware.

Keep America and your private information safe...boycott Chinese-made electronics if possible

Posted by Brandon Giles, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 17, 2023 at 1:55 am

Brandon Giles is a registered user.

Nice and amazing post this one is, thanks for sharing.

Web Link

Posted by Loretta Taylor, a resident of another community,
on Apr 17, 2023 at 4:02 pm

Loretta Taylor is a registered user.

When AI and subsequent Chat GPT applications are perfected, the police will be able to predict various crimes before they even occur based on an accumulation of criminal records, psychological profiling models, and advanced algorithms.

Law enforcement will then be able to sequester and incarcerate suspected repeat offenders with ease.

Though some humanists decry the potential of AI for violations of personal privacy and human rights, I imagine that some Palo Alto residents would be more than willing to surrender some of their basic freedoms in exchange for a crime-free community with safer shopping, dining, and recreational experiences.

By keeping those who do not belong in our neighborhoods and shopping centers out, Palo Alto can become more like Danville which is relatively crime-free.

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