Last night we were at a party and heard a bone-chilling story: a boy told us about waking up in his third-floor Soho loft to see a stranger standing over his bed. He whispered to his boyfriend, and his movement scared the guy away out the window. The pair watched the intruder skitter down the wall of his building and try to enter another apartment, only to be scared off again by a neighbor. Later, when the so-called Spider-Man burglar was arrested, they figured it must have been the same guy. This story terrified us. Not only because it gave us another thing to be scared of that we never even thought of, like the apartment creeper. But because we know for a fact we would be completely useless in that situation. Just the other night, Intel Chris awoke in the middle of the night to see his own boyfriend walking back from getting a glass of water. In his sleep-addled state, for a second he thought it was an intruder. Did he grab a heavy object? Did he lay still and assess the situation? No, he shrieked like a Florida weatherman seeing a cockroach.
Why do we tell these stories? Because even though we are giant ‘fraidy cats, there are a bunch of people in this very city who are not afraid of scary intruders in their homes. They feel so safe that they leave their doors unlocked at all times. Some of them don’t even have keys! The Times, which features this group today, calls them “No Lock People.” Writer Joyce Wadler doesn’t really get into the logic of not locking the doors, because there isn’t, in fact, much logic to it. It seems to just stem from a feeling of safety and comfort rather than a rational thought process. If you have a doorman and are afraid of losing your keys, why not?
Well, statistics give a few “why nots”:
According to the F.B.I.’s most recent annual Uniform Crime Report, of the estimated 2,222,196 burglaries committed nationwide in 2008, 32.2 percent were unlawful entries without force. And a spokesman for the New York City Police Department reported that of the 19,263 burglaries that took place in New York City in 2009, 5,041 did not involve forced entry.
That’s over 25 percent. Which is why one No Lock Person’s co-op board sent them a letter saying, “If you are stupid enough to keep the door open and yell to anyone within hearing distance that the door is open, and anyone who hears it can go on in, the building isn’t going to be responsible.”