Tonight: Home burglaries focus of Menlo Park public meeting


In response to a number of residential burglaries in Menlo Park's Willows neighborhood, the city will hold a public meeting to discuss the problem at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Laurel School Upper Campus (275 Elliott Drive.)

The most recent arrests for residential burglaries in that neighborhood occurred Dec. 20, when two 16-year-old boys from East Palo Alto were arrested on suspicion of residential burglary. They were booked into Hillcrest Juvenile Detention Facility on two counts of residential burglary each.

According to police spokesperson Nicole Acker, 12 out of the 15 residential burglaries that occurred in 2016 in the Willows neighborhood occurred from September to December. Overall, she said, there were three more residential burglaries in the Willows neighborhood in 2016 than in 2015, and that the neighborhood saw the greatest number of residential burglaries compared to other neighborhoods.

At the meeting Wednesday, Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith, Police Chief Bob Jonsen, Police Commander William Dixon and city police officers are expected to talk about how they are addressing the burglary problem and answer questions.

Detective Jason Poirier will talk about crime prevention "through environmental design." The concept, according to the city's website, is that people can reduce crime near their homes by "eliminating criminal opportunities in and around your property." Well-maintained, well-lit and difficult-to-access properties, for instance, can be less appealing targets for burglars, the website says.

Community Service Officer Gonee Sepulveda will talk about the police department's neighborhood watch program.

A question-and-answer session will follow.

The meeting is expected to last roughly two hours.

Meanwhile, Ms. Acker said, undercover surveillance in the neighborhood will continue.

Go to the city's website for more information.

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6 people like this
Posted by Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 5, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Talk is great but there have been different groups doing the burglaries. My family is often home during the day and I'd hate for one of these teen burglars to happen upon them or me midday -- we are prepared to defend ourselves as I hope others are.
Neighbors please be on guard and it's ok to profile when you think someone doesn't belong on. Our block.

14 people like this
Posted by Brown in the Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 6, 2017 at 10:01 am

I agree that people need to be more careful but to me this means doing the things the Police Dept recommends, e.g. lighting, surveillance technology, and locking your doors, windows, sideyard gates. And if your home is unoccupied during the day, I also recommend having packages delivered to your office (or some other place) so they aren't sitting out on your porch.

However it is not never okay to "profile" anyone because "you think they don't belong" (which we all know is code for "not white or Asian").

7 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 6, 2017 at 3:43 pm

Let's up not turn an comment into a race issue. Suspicious people can be any race color or creed. Neighbors need to take care of neighbors, regardless of color.

6 people like this
Posted by Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 7, 2017 at 11:24 am

I didn't mean to suggest color as the means of profiling. But knowing who and who does not belong in our neighborhoods or on our block -- many of our streets our 'out of the way' and not a regular means of thoroughfare. Cars parking and people just waking about aimlessly are easy to pay attention to, and I have and will call MP Police if I see something unusual - Brown in the Willows you need to get a grip - I know my neighbors and neighborhood. Been here 40 yrs and can tell you that I am also not white or Asian.

4 people like this
Posted by Brown in the Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 9, 2017 at 9:55 am

@Clunge Maybe you didn't mean to suggest profiling based on race, but I don't know how your comment could be interpreted otherwise.

And your follow up comment doesn't help. Cars parking? People waking [sic] about aimlessly? Are these really the suspicious behaviors that trigger a call to the police? We don't live in a gated community. Those behaviors could just as easily describe an Uber, or delivery driver, or house cleaner, or handyman, or nanny who managed to get a little bit turned around while looking for an address.

3 people like this
Posted by Real in the Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 11, 2017 at 4:19 pm

'PC'...the greatest deterrent to law enforcement ever devised/conceived. "Well I can kind of describe him/her -- wearing shoes, socks, pants and a shirt"! A stone-cold description. Get real.

2 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 11, 2017 at 4:48 pm

I suspect you will find that "Cars parking? People waking [sic] about aimlessly?" is far more likely to involve a rare Pokemon than a burglary in progress.

Applying basic common sense goes a long way - lock your doors, don't leave valuables in a car, etc.

2 people like this
Posted by Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 11, 2017 at 6:23 pm

46 yrs in the Willows I've seen robbery sprees like this come and go. We had neighborhood watches and police officers tell us "If something or someone doesn't look right, if they look like they don't belong, call us". Call it profiling call it non PC but I'm happier being safe than sorry. I'm not a cop- I'm not going to stop a crime in progress and I don't feel like getting robbed - if the Gardner or delivery guy is bothered by a cop stopping them then they better figure out where they're going. God luck at the mtg tonight, I'll be home keeps my an eye on our block

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