Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Killing of Polly Klaas

Petaluma Changed Forever

Petaluma, California has not forgotten Polly Klaas. On January 18, 1994, the Petaluma City Council changed the name of the town's Five Corners Theater to the Polly Hannah Klaas Performing Arts Center, stating in its official resolution that it hoped "the memory of this special child will forever be a part of the community of Petaluma." The resolution also noted that the designation was appropriate since "theater and performing arts held a special place in the heart of Polly Hannah Klaas."

According to Jim Carr, Director of the Petaluma Parks and Recreation Department that oversees the Center, "The building was that of an old church that had been converted into a small performing arts theater. The City Council felt they needed to perpetuate her name because she had touched the lives of so many people and the theater was a natural place to do it because it has been used for children's theater in the past. The building is located right across the street from the City Hall complex."

The building of the Polly Hannah Klaas Performing Arts Center is in a state of disrepair as of this writing and the Polly Hannah Klaas Performing Arts Theater Company has been formed to raise funds to renovate it.

Carr says that Petaluma residents have been powerfully affected by Polly Klaas' tragedy. "We were so heavily involved with Marc, Eve and Polly's sister," he notes. "The whole community suffered with them. To this day, it's severely impacted the way people look at it when they see people hanging around our parks and changed how people are about letting children go out by themselves. They keep a close eye on their children. Before they might have allowed them to run around free. Those days are ended."


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