Recent crimes in Saratoga have some residents feeling scared

November 18, 2010 — by Ashwini Velchamy and Cullan McChesney

Saratoga has long been a city relatively free of crime, but that perception has recently been challenged in light of several recent home robberies and a possible attempted kidnapping at an elementary school.

At about 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 28, a man in a white pickup truck tried to tempt several young students outside Saratoga Elementary School with $100 bills. After a couple of parents learned what was happening from the children, they proceeded to call authorities as the man sped off, according to an e-mail sent to the community.

In response to the threat, the school sent several e-mails to parents regarding increased safety measures. Many Saratoga High students with younger siblings attending Saratoga Elementary were shaken up over the event.

“I was shocked,” said junior Heather Pearson, whose sister attends the school. “I did not expect anything like this to happen in Saratoga of all places.”

The school has, however, stepped up security with more adults watching the students. School officials sent instructions on what to do when confronted with a stranger. But many parents are still on edge after the incident.

In another crime that occurred on Oct. 23, a masked robber held a couple getting out of their car at gunpoint in Bellgrove Circle and demanded money. After the man refused, the robber kicked him, grabbed the man’s wallet and ran into a waiting car, according to the victims. The perpetrator has not yet been caught, according to an e-mail sent to the Bellgrove community.

The victims of the robbery immediately sent out e-mails and messages to their neighbors, warning them about the event. Many residents are shocked at this crime and other robberies earlier in the year, while several students who live there expressed fear and worry.

Sophomore Alex Wang, a resident of Bellgrove, said he has started keeping a baseball bat in the garage in case anything ever happens. Other students echoed Wang’s sentiments and have also decided to take more precautions.

“My parents won’t let me out at night, and they won’t let me be by myself anymore,” said sophomore Caroline Chou. “So if I wanted to go out running by myself, they probably wouldn’t let me.”

Senior Emily Hisa said her family had become more cautious.

“We keep the lights on outside my house all the time, just little things like that,” said Hsia.