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Low Crime Rates in Areas Surrounding Menlo

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Low Crime Rates in Areas Surrounding Menlo

Photo of recent break in and robbery in the Menlo Student Parking Lot. Photo courtesy of Sophie Golub.

Photo of recent break in and robbery in the Menlo Student Parking Lot. Photo courtesy of Sophie Golub.

Photo of recent break in and robbery in the Menlo Student Parking Lot. Photo courtesy of Sophie Golub.

Photo of recent break in and robbery in the Menlo Student Parking Lot. Photo courtesy of Sophie Golub.

Caroline Frantz, News Editor

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Last year on Tues. Sept. 18, junior Sophie Golub’s car was broken into, and a purse was stolen from the passenger seat in the Menlo parking lot. In addition to this incident, there have been multiple robberies throughout the past few years from student backpacks on campus. Despite the fact that there are a few crimes that Menlo students have experienced, the cities surrounding the school have low crime rates compared to the majority of other cities in the US.

In the past year, there have been 79 crimes reported in Atherton, and over 1,800 crimes in the Palo Alto area (including Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto) according to the Menlo Park Police Department. Although at first glance these seem high, these numbers are significantly lower than other suburbs of a similar size around the country. For example, Albany, NY, (which is only two square miles larger than Palo Alto) has reported over 4,200 crimes in the past year. The types of crimes included in this count are murder, rape, robbery, assault (both sexual and non-sexual) and theft.

The average crime rate in Atherton is 60% lower than the national average and 63% lower than the California state average. “I definitely feel like most Menlo students live in a bubble. Areas such as Menlo Park, Atherton, Hillsborough and West Palo Alto are really safe,” senior Sara Hewitt said. “We aren’t used to hearing gunshots in our neighborhood, and we are very privileged to get to walk around at night without fear for our safety.”

One of the more common crimes in the Silicon Valley area is car break-ins. “When I go off to college, I think I need to adjust my mindset about personal safety of myself and my belongings when I’m in public,” senior Bella Scola said. “I sometimes leave bags visible in my trunk and being more mindful of that will keep me safer.”

Students, and more specifically female students, will most likely have to make changes regarding their personal safety awareness when they leave home for college. “It’s an adjustment as a girl to go to a different area and fear for my safety, because I don’t normally have to do that where I live,” Hewitt said.

According to the FBI, the national crime rate is decreasing, and has been for the past 14 years. However, murder and violent crime rate have fluctuated greatly during that time, and crime in metropolitan areas is expectedly always higher than suburban areas. For example, in New York City, the crime rate has been increasing every year for the past decade according to the Wall Street Journal.

During his entire campaign, and throughout the duration of his time in office, President Trump has made fighting crime one of his top priorities. One thing he has done to prevent crime is telling federal prosecutors to try and give criminals the most aggressive charge they can. However, not much has really changed on a major scale. Despite the fact that the areas around Menlo are safe, San Francisco was ranked the No. 1 major city in the country for property theft, as stated by the San Francisco Chronicle. Menlo students are inherently sheltered due to the low crime rates in the cities surrounding the school; however, crime rates are increasing in other parts of the country.

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