They Aren’t Locking Their Doors In Brooklyn Heights

The First Essential Scary Truth

Lakeport, Michigan is an idyllic small town at the base of Michigan’s thumb. It’s over 125 miles north of Detroit and rests on the shore of Lake Huron. My grandfather retired there, when he finally got around to not working, at the age of 75. (Thankfully, he’s still kicking at the young age of 90.) I loved to go with him to the local store and restaurant where your bill could be settled at the end of every month. Everyone seemed to know his name and my name as well, although they only saw me once a year.

When we left his house, he locked that door. I thought it odd that in this lovely small town people felt the need to lock up their lives. Wasn’t part of the appeal of small town America safety from the crime and violence of the major American city? “This is 20…Alexander,” he’d lecture me. “Only a fool leaves his home unlocked so vandals can get in. Locked doors and fences make for good neighborly relations.”

It seems as though the residents of Brooklyn Heights didn’t get the memo.

From The Gothamist:

It’s a dark day for Brooklyn Heights, where the idyllic brownstone utopia is being forced to acknowledge that there are disreputable blackguards in this world with less than noble intentions. There have been five broad daylight burglaries in the Heights in the past four days, and each robbery shares a common theme: the thieves targeted residences where the front door or window was left unlocked. Anytown, USA just lost its innocence.

Judy Stanton, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, sent out a letter to local residents explaining that there are nefarious rapscallions looking for any opportunity to violate the code of ethics… even in Brooklyn Heights! “It is lovely that Heights residents are feeling so safe that they leave their doors unlocked, but it is awful to be burglarized,” Stanton wrote in a letter obtained by Brooklyn Heights Blog. “And it is very, very frustrating to the police. Deputy Inspector DiPaolo has reached out to the BHA to get the word out to all of you, in the hope of preventing more of these ‘walk right in’ burglaries. Please forward this to your neighbors, and PLEASE BE SURE TO LOCK YOUR DOORS.”

“Oh no, we don’t lock our doors often,” longtime Brooklyn Heights resident Allen Tobias tells City Room. “You get used to a certain level of comfort and you don’t go back too easily. But I locked my door today. The burglaries were right around the corner.” So there goes the neighborhood. Next thing you know, you’ll have to start carrying money in your pockets instead of strolling the streets with fistfuls of cash. And we suppose you shouldn’t park your car and leave the car keys in the ignition anymore, either. Seriously, it’s like the Wild West over there these days!

Never thought I’d say this but the Darwin Award for March 2011 goes to: Brooklyn Heights!

(Hat tip: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York.)

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