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Atherton: Thieves nab $86K worth of goods in January, but February has remained burglary-free

Original post made on Mar 1, 2022

There haven't been any burglaries in town in February, but thieves took about $86,000 worth of goods during eight burglaries in January, according to the Atherton Police Department.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 28, 2022, 11:12 AM

Comments (7)

Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 1, 2022 at 10:36 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

>> McCulley is hesitant to support a private patrol like some gated communities have. "I'm not sure how effective it would be in addition to three or four officers going about town," he said.

This is actually absurd. Thieves are breaking into homes because they believe they are not going to be caught. If we had more eyes on the street, it stands to reason there would be more risk in committing crimes. The chief knows this, because in the paragraph above, he supports a "new resident volunteer patrol."

It appears that the chief doesn't want much lower paid patrollers (who also don't get pensions) to possibly supplant police officers. This is an irresponsible position to take when so many residents are suffering from property crimes.

In any event, private patrol doesn't supplant police officers. They're not armed, they don't make arrests, they're not trained in police tactics. They're just driving around town – constantly – and reporting anything that looks suspicious to the police to check out.

Moving on to the no pursuit policy for non-violent crimes, at the meeting, the chief said he didn't want innocent bystanders hit by cars in a high speed chase, and while this has some merit, it begs the question of why Menlo Park allows it. Presumably, an officer can use his or her judgment, and pursue if it is safe to do so (such as the middle of the night with no one on the streets) or not.

But, more troubling is that the Almanac is leaving out that when pushed on this issue during the meeting, the chief admitted the "no pursuit" policy extends to foot pursuits also – unless authorized by a supervisor. By the time this occurs, the crooks are gone.

The town council should be examining and questioning assumptions that haven't worked for Atherton in reducing crime. In particular, the reluctance on the police department to cooperate with private patrol – which seems to be motivated (misguidedly) by self-preservation – is not a stance the council should accept


Posted by Kevin
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Mar 1, 2022 at 11:20 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

We had a burglary in our Menlo neighborhood using the same modis operendi on the evening of Jan 25th. The good news is that the Menlo Park police were there within 5 minutes of being alerted and only missed cutting off the escape vehicle by about 10 seconds. The MPPD did pursue, leveraging Atherton PD as scene backup. The bad news is that the 4 person burglar team escaped and the plate on their Infiniti sedan was stolen. Unfortunately, it seems like reporting and police intelligence on this string of crimes is fragmentary across jurisdictions.


Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 2, 2022 at 10:51 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Well, there you have it. On January 25, MPPD came very close to catching these crooks through a sensible pursuit policy. 10 seconds, they would have been in jail. Word will get out. No such "I came within 10 seconds to years in jail" lessons can be learned in Atherton. No such chatter amongst thieves will occur. We're paying a huge amount for a police department that will not pursue criminals. It's crazy.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 2, 2022 at 6:34 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Thoughtful:

and still almost no one in Atherton uses their alarm systems. Imagine you had something in your home, like a lock, that would greatly reduce or prevent burglaries, but you never use it. You want to blame the police?


Posted by gtspencer
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Mar 2, 2022 at 6:43 pm

gtspencer is a registered user.

Atherton needs a police department as much as Hillsbourough needs one. They should all be outsourced to the Sheriff's Department. This would save huge amounts of money.


Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 2, 2022 at 8:20 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Menlo Voter: I agree with you. If a homeowner doesn't use their alarm, and get robbed, that's not on the police.

At the community meeting, the chief admitted about half the burglaries were from homes that had their alarm enabled.

My point is, Atherton doesn't have violent crime, or any violent crime other than outlier incidents. Thus, as a practical matter, the police are never pursuing criminals. For violent crime, there basically isn't any. For non-violent crime, their policy is not to pursue.

This isn't the correct policy for a community that is suffering from rampant break-ins. We pay a lot of money for the police department. What are we actually paying for?

Change the policy. Menlo Park pursues. Pursuing will help the residents.

Get private patrol to augment (not replace) the PD (with the correct policies in place to maximize our investment).


Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 3, 2022 at 7:45 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.

Thoughtful:

If you're going to bring in private patrols, which is a good idea, you might as well outsource the police department to the Sheriff. The town, by last calculations I saw, would save at least $2 million a year and would cease to have a growing pension obligation. But the residents never want to do this. Why? I suspect I know the answers and it isn't very complementary to the residents of Atherton.


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