Home burglary lockdown affects Palo Alto residents
by Lydia Barry and Charles Yu
Published March 26, 2014
The Palo Alto Police Department is still investigating the details of a home robbery Monday evening, which warranted a residential lockdown for several hours and required assistance from the Palo Alto Police Department’s Crisis Negotiation Team and Special Weapons & Tactics Team.
The PAPD received a call around 6:26 p.m on Monday evening from a resident in the 800 block of Ames Ave. reporting an active and on-going burglary, according to the police department’s press release, prompting the police to initiate a lock-down within a one-block radius of the scene of the crime.
According to the press release, a total of 93 surrounding homes received notifications by telephone to remain inside their homes with their doors locked out of an “abundance of caution” while police attempted to negotiate with possible suspects still in the house.
After three hours of receiving no response from suspects inside the home, the PAPD brought its SWAT team and crisis negotiators to the scene, according to the press release. The area was deemed safe and clear by 11:45 p.m. after police entered the home and failed to find suspects inside. Until the situation was resolved, the PAPD also reached out to the greater Palo Alto community with live updates via Twitter, Facebook, Nixle and Nextdoor.
Lt. Zach Perron of the PAPD said that the over five-hour lockdown was necessary to ensure the safety of local residents.
“If the suspects had still been in the area but not in the house in question, we did not want them to try to hide in a neighbor’s occupied house,” Perron said. “There’s no way for sure to know how much danger is ever present in any given situation, but our hope and intent is to keep people as safe as possible.”
Of the residents affected were Henry M. Gunn High School students Dave Zhu and Justin Ang.
“My dad said that he saw the cars there [at the scene] when he was coming back from work at around 7, and that the suspect had already fled by then,” Zhu said.
“They [the police] were saying stuff on the megaphone like ‘Put your hands in the air,’ and ‘We know you’re in there,'” Ang said. “We also got a phone call telling us about it [the burglary].”
According to Perron, the best plan of action in a burglary situation is to seek safety and call the police.
“Exit the home if it’s safe to do so and immediately call 9-1-1, ” Perron said. “If it’s not safe to leave, lock yourself in a room with a phone and call 9-1-1 immediately.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department’s 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice-mail to 650-383-8984.