----- and Entering

Years ago at our house in Canada, my parents went to our door one day to find that someone had left a package inside our home. It was simply a package that had been delivered to the wrong address, but the fact is that the people who dropped it off weren't generally known to like us. And the fact is that when they came to drop it off, they didn't ring our doorbell. They just opened our front door and slipped the package inside. You can imagine that my parents were disturbed by the fact that someone who didn't like us had entered our home so easily and without notice. From that day on, we have always locked our front door even when we were at home.

I didn't carry this tradition to school with me immediately. In fact, I even stayed at one apartment in Provo where the girls refused to lock the apartment at all, ever. All night, the door was unlocked. All day, the door was unlocked. And though I tried to encourage them to lock the door, they never did. Not even after one of their cars was broken into in the apartment's underground parking.

In Italy all the doors lock automatically. In fact, most doors don't even have door knobs on the outside of the apartment---all you have to enter your home is the key hole. The Italians said that they always thought that it was a very implausible part of American movies when an intruder would enter a home simply by walking through the front door. That the front door would not be locked was inconceivable to them. When they finally saw Bowling for Columbine, they were shocked to discover that doors do actually remain unlocked in many American (and Canadian) homes.

I've enforced a strict locked-door policy since last year, when Tolkien Boy had a scary experience. While he was in his apartment in his bedroom, he heard his front door open. Of course, he assumed that it was one of his other roommates. He heard one of his roommates' bedroom doors open and then another roommate's door open, which was a little strange, so he decided to check in. He peeked his head into one bedroom to find a man packing up his roommate's laptop. When TB asked him what he was doing, the guy quickly left everything and ran out of the apartment. TB called his roommate before calling the police to double-check that he really hadn't been expecting a friend to stop by and borrow his laptop. While he was on the phone, he heard the other bedroom door of the apartment shut. There was still someone else in the apartment. He told his roommate that someone else was there, and that he was going to call the police. He asked the roommate to call a neighbor in the meantime so that TB didn't have to be alone in the apartment. After he said this, the second intruder came running from the other bedroom and left the apartment.

I only had to tell my roommates that story once before they decided that it was a good idea to lock the doors to the apartment.

The Boy and I have carried on the tradition in our apartment. Though one of us is in the house almost at all times, our front door is always locked.

Yesterday, a similar story to Tolkien Boy's happened to some friends down the street. One roommate was home during the break-in. The intruder came in, grabbed a back pack, grabbed a laptop, and left the apartment.

The only point I have in writing this, I suppose, is to tell you the stories and allow you to decide whether or not you want to lock your doors. But in a college town like this, people aren't breaking and entering. They're just entering. And we're making it easy.


photogenic said...

Before coming to school I was lectured at length by my sister on subjects such as locking doors and walking with people at night. She spent a few years working for both BYU and Provo dispatch and had some good solid (freaky) stories to back up her strong feelings. So I am a locking doors advocate. This may be Provo but, lets be honest, that doesn't really change anything.

AzĂșcar said...

My brother currently works for Provo dispatch. We lock our doors.

FoxyJ said...

My parents just returned home from visiting us on Tuesday to find their front door kicked in and a bunch of their stuff missing (they're in Vegas). And then I have a friend who had a bunch of stuff stolen out of his car (someone broke a window) while he was eating in a restaurant at University Mall. Yikes! I generally keep my doors locked, but I have been lax lately. I grew up in an area of So Cal where we had people steal things out of our garage while we were eating dinner. I used to be paranoid, I need to get that way again.

M. Paul Bailey said...

I am a big fan of keeping the doors unlocked. I currently lock my door, but that is because my roommate wishes it to be locked. I didn't lock my door at all last year. In fact, I didn't even carry around a key.

My reasoning for not wanting to lock my door is that I prefer a world where people don't have to lock their doors. I prefer a world where we all trust each other enough that we do not have to live in fear. For the act of locking one's door, though it may be wise, is born partly of fear. If we had no fear of people breaking in and stealing our things (or worse), we would probably not lock our doors. So my choice of living unsafely is based upon my desire to live in a world without fear.

I fully acknowledge that my view is quite foolish, but yet I can't help holding on to my idealistic view of the world. If the cost of maintaining that view is running the risk of some day being robbed, well I'm willing to pay that price.

metamorphose said...

Um, who cares about getting your stuff stolen? There are worse things. I know of a woman who was raped in the middle of the day in her own home.

The door is always locked at my house.

AzĂșcar said...

And I don't want someone to steal my child because I couldn't figure out how to work a deadbolt. I can replace my DVD player, a child costs like $30,000 to replace (if you don't want to have to go through the bother of having him yourself.)

(p.s. Rachael, I miss your blog.)

Cicada said...

I guess I don't see myself as living in fear when I lock my door. I see myself as taking one second to deadbolt it and ultimately, that doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice.

The Divine Miss A said...

I must admit that my parents don't lock the doors when we're home. When they're out of town, though, I lock both locks and check it at least twice.

Really, not a sacrifice if I think about how much time I save worrying that some random stalker-person will come into my house.

ambrosia ananas said...

I'm a big fan of locking doors. It was drilled into me freshman year by a couple of OCD door lockers. (I had to spend a night at the neighbors' once because I forgot my keys. I didn't forget them again that year.)

I won't mention that one of the many apartments I've lived in where roommates refused to carry keys and resented me for locking the doors was broken into a month after I moved out. (Yes, the door was locked. No, the deadbolt wasn't. Yes, the neighbor was out on parole.)

(Dear roommates. If you ever read this, please don't hate on me. You know I love you.)

marriedin said...

I have a fried who had a nice, new Cadillac. Not only did he not lock the door, but he always left a key in the ignition.

I hate carrying around a huge key chain.

Oh, Canada.

BowlerGirl said...

We had a car/garage break-in my junior year at BYU. We were already habitual door-lockers before this...(with 9 girls living in one house there is always someone home, but lets face it, we were paranoid.)
Thankfully, we also had a very concerned family next door to us. One night a friend of mine was knocking on one of the windows. He was stopped by the Dad with a shot-gun.