Town Square

Pedestrian robbed at gunpoint in Menlo Park's Willows neighborhood

Original post made on Aug 20, 2008

Menlo Park police are looking for a man who reportedly robbed a pedestrian at gunpoint of his jewelry and money in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park at around 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18, then got into a waiting car and fled the scene.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 11:05 AM


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Posted by laura hamilton
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 20, 2008 at 8:03 pm

I am absolutely appalled at the amount of recent crime the Willows
neighborhood has seen in just the past few weeks; an armed robbery, 3
car break-ins ( including neighbors catching the thieves!), 2 hit and
runs and the list is growing everyday!
To me, it looks like the thieves and people conducting these crimes
know that the Wilow's is an easy target. It seems that they know they
can get away with wheeling guns and stealing on our streets. This
neighborhood deserves better; WE deserve better!
I want to know what the council of Menlo Park is planning on doing to
combat these crimes. I want to hear that the Menlo Park Police Dept.
is going to do more than just more patrolling. I want to hear that the
city of Menlo Park would like to make our streets safer. The crimes
are getting worse and worse- where will it stop? When is enough enough?
We all need to step up to the plate and demand something be done.

I love this neighborhood and would love to raise my family here, but
with the violence escalating and growing, I; like MANY others will not
want to live here. It's a terrible feeling knowing that we are not
safe with children in our own neighborhood.

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Posted by it stinks
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 21, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Unfortunately it has been going on for a long time. There has always been higher crime in the Willows. It's proximity to lower income areas as well as to the freeway. Definitely should up the MP patrolling and increase the presence. Neighborhood watch is hopefully strong there. We just keep watching and hoping times will change and more rif raf will leave and eventually it will turn around. It has changed a lot since the late 80s early 90s, just not quickly enough :-(

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Posted by Tom
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Its not just the Willows, and its not just Menlo Park. There have been robberies in midtown PA, Stanford Shopping Center, ECR in Menlo Park, etc. etc. Experts will tell us, and they are correct, as the economy weakens and unemployment increases, the rate of this type of crime (robbery, home break-ins, bank robbery) increases. I'm not defending those who, out of desperation, resort to crime. However, PLEASE, for your own sake don't think it can't/won't happen in your neighborhood just because you don't live "close to the line" to folks with less economic resources than you. If you believe that our economy is going to get worse before it gets better, than by all means believe the rate of crime will get worse before it gets better, too. In my opinion it is unfair and unrealistic to say, well, then, my elected officials need to do something and my law enforcement people need to do more than patrol. The police can't do anything without probable cause except increase patrols. Now is the time, if you are not already involved, to get involved in a neighborhood watch group. If there isn't one in your neighborhood-start one. If you don't know if there is one, contact your neighborhood homeowners association or the local PD--get involved. Believe it or not, sometimes good people go bad out of desperation-not because they are "rif-raf" or because of the zip code they live in. Not cool that they do, but if you want to be safe from it, you need to take some active responsibility.

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Posted by it stinks
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 21, 2008 at 5:12 pm

I feel I need to clarify. I am well aware of the crime throughout the peninsula..especially Palo Alto. For the first time in my life (and I grew up in PA) I have been looking over my shoulder and second guessing where I park downtown. My post was more to state that the rash of crime in the Willows is unfortunately not new based on the decline of the economy, but has always been a problem. Just clarifying that the Willows has had bouts with this even during times when surrounding areas were less affected. I agree with the main poster on this blog that more needs to be done to deter crime from the Willows. I agree with you Tom that the neighborhood needs to come together. I can't imagine they already don't have a watch program.

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Posted by Checkyourself
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 21, 2008 at 11:24 pm

it stinks, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood wrote:

"It's proximity to lower income areas as well as to the freeway"

I feel sad for you and others that think like you. The residents of the “lower income areas” read these posts too. Its remarks like yours that do not help the situation, it only gives the criminals another reason to continue.

Then you wonder why the police cannot get any help in solving crimes from the residents of the “lower income areas” when they come knocking. I am not defending the "rif raf" as you call them, but I am defending the residents who do not have the same means as you do and are as descent if not more than you are.

Check yourself!

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Posted by Lisa
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 22, 2008 at 3:55 am

I believe that we have to focus more on how to stop this insurgence of crime highly connected to the easy access and comparably easy escape from the Willows. I feel that the City of MP should consider this issue and devise a way to protect the neighborhood. Sometime ago there was talk of creating a maze in the Willows so to make it more difficult to treat the neighborhood as an easy cut through to get to 101.
Unfortunately some of the residents did not support the concept and nothing has happened since.

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Posted by it stinks
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 22, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Check yourself-
I understand your point but you have to look at statistics. Would it be wrong to say that there are more murders in EPA than in PA? That is a fact. I am just stating from experiences in the past having lived her for almost 40 years and having read about who the suspects or perps turned out to be. The Willows is a getaway. The shootings that have happened in the willows have mostly been drive-bys and primarily gang-related (I can think of at least 2 in the past few on Durham & one at 101 Laurel). These are also important facts in solving the problem. I want EPA and East Menlo cleaned up too. They have come far, but there are still big problems. The residents of these areas want their neighborhoods cleaned up too. The gang problem from RWC to Mountain View is awful. I am not calling the good people of those neighborhoods rif raf...I am callling the rif raf out. Nice of you to name call me though.

Lisa- the European turn-arounds that they have put into parts of Palo Alto and North Fair Oaks are definitely effective in slowing down traffic. That would help with some of the speeding through. I would think Laurel and Durham would be good candidates... Menalto? Fair Oaks Ave used to be a major speedway until they put them in.

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Posted by Facts
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 23, 2008 at 8:43 pm

People who commit robbery at gunpoint are scum. People who sheild people who commit robbery at gunpoint are scum. There is no excuse for violent crimes of any type. Civilized people do not commit crimes of violence. A Cisco engineer was recently killed in a mugging similar to this in another city. Could have happened here.

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Posted by History
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Were your ancestors scum? History is just repeating it self but the tables have turned. Dry your eyes and quit crying.

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Posted by Facts
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 23, 2008 at 10:40 pm

Now we know. Killing and robbery seem to be OK to some.

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Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 23, 2008 at 10:45 pm

History, No thinking person can dispute your claim about the consistency of history. But what's your point? It seems that "Facts" is reacting in a very human way, out of frustration and from his gut, to the reality we face NOW. We need to figure out a strategy to deal with a growing problem of crime and threat to our safety, in our own neighborhoods. Pointing out the obvious -- that this has always been a reality in human existence -- serves no purpose. Let's figure out a strategy to protect innocent people, here and now, and foil the people who would victimize them. Isn't that what civilization is all about?

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Posted by Realist
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 24, 2008 at 11:52 pm

East Palo Alto has always been a running sore of crime, and this will not change in the foreseeable future. Those of you living in the Willows have my sympathy. The crime is not just coming from across 101 along Willow Road but from the huge housing projects behind the 4 Seasons Hotel along Euclid Avenue and Manhattan Avenue. This low income housing project is the source of the vast majority of crimes in the Willow neighborhood. It sucks to live an easy bike ride from this crime-ridden housing project but that is why the price of houses in the Willows is cheaper than the rest of Menlo Park. As for residents of these low income areas that take offense to these facts, tough. If you wish to dispute these facts, just take a gander down to the police station and check out their logs on how many calls a night they get and where these calls are from. They are from crime-ridden low income housing areas, which is why no one wants to live next to one.