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Do you/should you, lock your doors

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Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby narcoleptish » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:06 am

If you insist on discussing this as it pertains to the Baldwin St. incident, please fuck off. As I said in my other thread..

Choosing to not lock your door at night is as much a personal right as choosing to own a gun. Blaming someone for a crime because they left their door open is no different than blaming someone for getting mugged because they walked down the street with their iphone in their hand.


I always lock my doors because my girlfriend wishes it to be. When I lived alone I mostly locked them out of habit but sometimes I didn't and I really didn't care. Accidentally leaving your keys in the door however, is not good and a visible invitation for trouble.

I've come across a lot of people in Madison who never lock their door, or at least all of their doors. I know at least one person who goes on vacation and leaves their house unlocked. It's easy to call them foolish but in most cases these are not "clueless' people. I gotta admit that part of me admires that they've chosen not to live their life in fear, or at least that's how I see it.

Of course the police recommend that everyone lock their doors, it's their job to error on the side of caution and give the overall safest advice possible. But on a personal level, where do you draw the line on avoiding crime? Locking your door is simply one of the easiest, most convenient ways to protect yourself and your possessions, but can't the argument be made that we willingly expose ourselves to many other crimes that are just as, or more common than, home invasion?

Driving at bar time or downtown after a Badger football game exposes you to countless drunk drivers. Using your precious little electronic devices in public exposes you to possible mugging. People leave all kinds of expensive items in their yards or on their open porches overnight. Handing your credit card to a stranger behind the bar to hold onto all night exposes you to possible fraud.

Why aren't people in the above situations, "just asking for trouble", the same as someone who leaves their door unlocked?
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:29 am

I always check to see if my door is locked before I leave the house and before I go to bed, but when I'm home (which is most of the time, as I work from home) it's often unlocked. Honestly, the biggest reason why I make a point of it is to satisfy the insurance company.

Locking your door will prevent random drunks from wandering in on a lark, to be sure (a problem when I lived on the isthmus, but not so much since moving to the west side), but it's always seemed to me to be pretty useless against professional thieves, unless you've got something better than a standard deadbolt. Someone would have to be a major moron to break into my house through the front door. And considering that I've managed to break into my house when I've been locked out, I figure if a pro targets me, they're getting in anyway.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby wallrock » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:41 am

My apartment building has a locked entrance and I usually lock the door to my apartment when I leave. I don't lock the door when I'm at home except sometimes (maybe 60% of the time) when I go to bed. During the summer months I tend to keep the patio door and bedroom windows open in lieu of A/C. I've never bothered to "lock" the screen door and I occasionally forget to latch the sliding patio door in the warmer months. I'm not a fearful person. I understand the risks in life but I also have a halfway decent understanding of statistics. I'm also a average-sized male with few valuable possessions. I'd be upset if theoretical thieves stole my record collection or my books, but aside from a few family photos and keepsakes everything is replaceable.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby snoqueen » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:56 am

I lock the doors all the time, even when I'm out shoveling snow. But I have women friends who never lock theirs, and we've each experienced an equal level of crime and theft (zero). I would never berate anybody for leaving their doors unlocked, because as someone noted, it's easy for a determined person to get in regardless.

I don't have any property worth stealing -- couple old computers, that's it. No other electronics worth mentioning, no valuables. this isn't a crime-deterrence choice. I'm simply not that interested in toys. If you want to steal the car, it's right there in the driveway but I've kept it locked since one winter night about 15 years ago when I found some intoxicated guy sleeping in the front seat.

When I lived near Willy Street we had the drunks-stumbling-in problem too, and we never locked our house doors. We saw it as kind of an opportunity to be helpful, in fact. I changed procedure when I started living by myself, which was nearly 40 years ago. I think this is completely a lifestyle choice, not a moral issue. It'd make more sense to blame people who bought Ipads for getting ripped off in the parking lot of West Towne.

I won't drive on the beltline at all, for what it's worth.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby gargantua » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:45 pm

I lock, simply because it's just not that hard to do and may deter a more amateur-ish thief, perhaps desperate for their next fix.

As Wags and Sno said, if a pro wants to get in, garden-variety locks won't even slow them down much.

We should recognize that the difference between most of us and a victim is a matter of luck. Burglar just happened to pick a different target.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby Bwis53 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:20 pm

I've always locked. I don't like the details of crimes in Madison. It only takes a second to lock. And your life can change that fast. Once a drunk Mexican guy got our front door by mistake, but he wasn't going away and kept on trying. I called the cops to get the poor guy.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby Steve Vokers » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:27 pm

There's been some burglaries in my part of town lately, including some where the burglars let themselves in through open doors or windows at night while the residents were asleep. In the past I wasn't always real careful about locking doors when I went out, but now I lock all the doors whenever I leave and when I go to bed. Make sure the car in the driveway is locked, too.

It's not a big deal to me, and I don't feel like I'm living in fear. Just taking some simple precautions that don't take a lot of time and no money.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:09 pm

Dead bolt and knobs pretty much all the time. I'll unlock the front door if I'm expecting company.

Will it stop a professional thief? Of course not. On the other hand it will probably stop a random amateur from getting in. For the 1 second of effort it takes, it seems like a no brainer for me.

I guess the question I would have to ask is why do you need to leave the door unlocked in the first place? Not judging, but I don't see what you gain from doing so, and I say this as someone who lives right next door to a couple who have been two of my best friends for over 20 years.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby barney » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:14 pm

I've always locked, but more because I'm a female and lived alone for many years. More about *my* safety than my possessions, and, yes, I know that most sexual assaults are not "stranger" in nature, but it's not hurting anything to lock the doors at night.

Also, Madison ain't the small town it used to be...
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:23 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:I guess the question I would have to ask is why do you need to leave the door unlocked in the first place?
I wouldn't characterize it as a "need". It's really just not something I think about until bedtime or when I'm leaving the house. It's probably already locked at least half the time when I go to check it.

But I admit that I do like the convenience of just being able to say, "Come on in" when there's a knock at the door* and I'm in my kitchen doing dishes or finishing something up in my office. And in the 20-some years I've been doing that, I've never once had anyone who didn't already know me take me up on that offer. Salespeople, proselytizers, and service reps always wait for someone to come to the door anyway.

*That's right, I said knock. My doorbell has been broken for years.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:48 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Francis Di Domizio wrote:I guess the question I would have to ask is why do you need to leave the door unlocked in the first place?
I wouldn't characterize it as a "need". It's really just not something I think about until bedtime or when I'm leaving the house. It's probably already locked at least half the time when I go to check it.

But I admit that I do like the convenience of just being able to say, "Come on in" when there's a knock at the door* and I'm in my kitchen doing dishes or finishing something up in my office. And in the 20-some years I've been doing that, I've never once had anyone who didn't already know me take me up on that offer. Salespeople, proselytizers, and service reps always wait for someone to come to the door anyway.

*That's right, I said knock. My doorbell has been broken for years.


I guess "need" isn't the right word. I just don't see the point in not locking it. I mean you walk in the door, close it. Your hand is pretty much right there, why not take the time to lock it?

The convenience factor of not needing to go unlock it makes some sense I guess, and I always unlock the door if I'm expecting someone, but anyone who just stops over without any kind of notification can wait till someone can get to the door. Could be a background thing. I grew up in a neighborhood where anything not locked down had a decent chance of wandering off.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:32 pm

I agree, Francis. It's easy and everyone should lock their doors (I certainly don't mean to dissuade anyone from doing so.) I was just answering honestly, and often I don't do this very simple, very commonsensical thing.

How about windows? Whenever possible, I sleep with'em open. That's certainly not the smartest choice safety-wise.
I guess I just mostly live without fear. Not sure that's such a bad thing.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby narcoleptish » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:42 pm

I didn't mean to imply that anyone who always locks, lives in fear. I think my girlfriend has some level of fear, she locks the door so automatically behind her that I find myself locked out fairly regularly when I'm working in the yard.

I don't have a "need" to not lock either, but I love the idea of leaving the house open and being able to tell someone to just go in and get something they want to borrow, be it friends or neighbors. Just kicking the door open when my hands are full (which seems to be most of the time) or not having to turn off the car (for the house key) when I forget something. I know people on the isthmus who live this way today.

I don't know...those may seem like ridiculous reasons. I guess I just long for a more small town lifestyle. Without the small town.

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:How about windows? Whenever possible, I sleep with'em open.


GOD how I want to sleep with the windows wide open. My GF is against this also, so we don't. We have the little locks that stop them after 6 inches or so, I guess that's something but I know she doesn't even like that when we're sleeping. I respect her wishes.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby wallrock » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:10 pm

narcoleptish wrote:I think my girlfriend has some level of fear, she locks the door so automatically behind her that I find myself locked out fairly regularly when I'm working in the yard.

Back in college I gave myself a bloody nose when an ex-girlfriend did this sort of thing to me. I'd run to the corner convenience store for a pack of smokes and she locked the deadbolt after I left. Five minutes later I bounded up the front stairs and ran right into the door.

I did grow up in a rural area and my parents never locked their doors. Even now if I come home and the side door is locked I get a little pissy that I have to grab my keys out of the car.
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Re: Do you/should you, lock your doors

Postby Meade » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:57 pm

I do, I should, and so should you. My number one reason for locking is to protect hapless idiots and/or stupid drunks and/or burglars from making the mistake of entering my home without my invitation/permission.

I don't live in any fear whatsoever. Happy New Year.
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