What can I say that will get him to lock the door?
May 26, 2014 6:54 PM   Subscribe

What reasons do you have for locking the door? I need a list.

I feel safer with the doors locked. We spent huge amounts of money on new locks (the old ones were crap), he spent hours installing them (and new hinges on one door), and now he will only actually lock them with great reluctance.

There is an option to have it always locked with the little push-in-turn-button thingie on the knob. No way to forget with that engaged.

I come from Lock The Doors Culture and he is from Never Lock The Doors Culture. He wants me to be happy; I would be happier with locked doors.

He will listen to you, Metafilter. Help me bridge this gap.
posted by AllieTessKipp to Human Relations (81 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Are you talking about locking the doors while you are out, while you are at home, or both?
posted by Orinda at 6:58 PM on May 26, 2014

Best answer: I am from never lock the doors culture and even I lock my doors

- at night when I am asleep
- when I am not home
- if there is weird random local crime

Reasons for me range from

- I like to walk around in pjs/underwear and my neighbors will sometimes walk in
- Local crime is often weird kids walking into open homes to steal change so I am happier if they don't come in to mine
- Someone swiping my phone basically has access to my whole life

I'm a big fan of giving people genuine options for changes you'd like them to make, so here are also my reasons that I needed to overcome

- I lock myself out a lot (solution: there is a nearby but well-hidden spare key)
- Someone might need to get into my house when I was not there (same)
- I don't remember (I worked "lock the door" into my routine at night)

But honestly if he wants you to be happy and he doesn't have a compelling reason to keep them unlocked, I am not sure what the reasoning is that is supposed to change his mind? Or why our reasons would be better than your reasons?
posted by jessamyn at 6:59 PM on May 26, 2014 [8 favorites]

I had crappy locks on my doors that the landlord wouldn't replace. I woke up one night to find a man crouched in the corner of my room (my pet galah yelled and woke me up otherwise who knows what would have happened) Luckily I managed to get away but when the police were called, they very nonchalantly told me it was probably The (my area) rapist and I was lucky nothing happened. So, there's always that.
posted by Jubey at 7:00 PM on May 26, 2014 [13 favorites]

Best answer: If he wants you to be happy and locking the doors makes you happy, I don't understand his reluctance. I wouldn't want my partner to be living with medium level anxiety about her safety all the time when she was home. And I believe that's what you'd be feeling. I'm presuming you're a woman and that your male partner simply doesn't understand how women's experiences of personal safety are different to theirs, from birth.

I support your request. I don't live like that, but I totally utterly get it and think he should read more about women's experiences of not being, nor feeling, safe.
posted by taff at 7:01 PM on May 26, 2014 [44 favorites]

Best answer: Murder + unlocked door
Rape + unlocked door
posted by scody at 7:02 PM on May 26, 2014 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Um, yeah, this doesn't really make sense.
He wants me to be happy; I would be happier with locked doors. Seems like it should be pretty obvious what he should do?

I keep the doors locked because I don't want someone to come in the door. No matter where you live, it's never guaranteed that someone you don't want can't walk through your door at any time. I can't fathom why someone wouldn't keep doors locked at all times. Why risk it? What's gained by not locking them?
posted by bleep at 7:02 PM on May 26, 2014 [20 favorites]

Who is "he"? Your husband? Boyfriend? Roommate? Buddy who comes over to watch HBO on Sunday nights? Advice would vary depending on the actual situation here.

Also useful would be whether you're talking about locking the doors while you're at home during the day, at night, while you're asleep, when you leave, or what? Where you live (or at least what kind of area, housing stock, etc) would also be a factor in advising you how to proceed.

I would say something very different if it was your husband not locking the door when he goes to work in the morning vs. your roommate not locking the door behind him when he gets home in the evening. Also depending on if it's a house in suburbia vs. an inner city tenement apartment.
posted by Sara C. at 7:02 PM on May 26, 2014

Best answer: If something happens, you want the cops and insurance company to see that someone forced their way in, not just let themselves in.
posted by dayintoday at 7:03 PM on May 26, 2014 [14 favorites]

Best answer: He wants me to be happy; I would be happier with locked doors.

There's your answer. Even if it is totally irrational, it's a small and simple thing he can do to make you happy and that's what he should do.

In exchange, please don't do irritating things like locking him out while he's taking out the trash; there are few things more tiresome than having to knock to be let back in after you had carefully unlocked the door.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:07 PM on May 26, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: My husband has a deep seated need to keep the doors locked when we are home. I prefer not to. He keeps the door locked, I live with it. How about you just get up and lock the door? I doubt he'll care enough to go and unlock it.

Do you guys have young kids or pets? They're much less likely to accidentally get out if the doors stay locked.
posted by Requiax at 7:08 PM on May 26, 2014 [8 favorites]

Best answer: The only reason he needs is that it is important to you so that you will feel safe. It doesn't matter who "he" is. Husband, boyfriend, room mate. You're asking him to do this so you will feel safe. You don't need to come up with any other reason.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:10 PM on May 26, 2014 [14 favorites]

Because you can tell your husband "do it because I love you and I said so", whereas if this is a roommate or a frequent houseguest something, the frequency of local break-ins is an actual conversation you will need to have from a place of logic and consistency, with contingencies for what happens when someone gets locked out and whether a Hide-A-Key is OK.
posted by Sara C. at 7:20 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I feel safer with the doors locked.
He wants me to be happy; I would be happier with locked doors.
He will listen to you, Metafilter.

Dude. Lock the doors.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:20 PM on May 26, 2014 [36 favorites]

Are you sure this is a matter of reasoning? I grew up in a small town. I moved out of said small town when I was fifteen and back for a couple years in college but mostly have lived in much more urban areas since. I still forget. Is he deliberately not locking the door, or is he just having a hard time building this new habit?
posted by Sequence at 7:21 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think you should just be in charge of locking the door. You keep it locked, you're happy, and he wants you to be happy so he accepts that you will always lock the door.
posted by katypickle at 7:22 PM on May 26, 2014 [8 favorites]

Lock the doors. I have a well-meaning but very sick neighbor who was positive my apartment had access to the basement where some of his belongings are stored. (I have no basement access.)

Locking the doors has kept him from entering and wandering through my home, and possibly hurting himself.
posted by mochapickle at 7:22 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I live in an apartment with a doorman, and we lock the doors at all times. It takes two seconds and it saves peace of mind. Why would you NOT?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:23 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all so much. Mere words cannot express my gratitude so I may go donate another $25.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 7:27 PM on May 26, 2014 [13 favorites]

Best answer: He wants me to be happy; I would be happier with locked doors.
He will listen to you, Metafilter.

The recent mass killing in California would have been higher if the killer had gained access to sorority house. He didn't, because they door was locked. The killer pounded on the door, they didn't open it and so he went on his way.

Lock the door. If there are certain people you want to have constant access to your house, give 'em a key. Otherwise, lock the damn door.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:28 PM on May 26, 2014 [34 favorites]

Best answer: People who insist on always locking doors sometimes (but not always) have an exaggerated sense of potential harm. Those who insist on keeping it unlocked all the time sometimes (but not always) have an exaggerated sense of their own safety (history shows this to be the case). Although the actual risk factor is probably in the middle somewhere, I generally apply something of Pascal's wager to the question of future potential harm. There's nothing lost by locking the door in terms of actual harm, there is potentially something lost by keeping it unlocked. So, I tend to lock the door more often than not.

Although if I were really honest, I probably just watched too many scary movies as a kid. Peace of mind is valuable in its own right, though, even if it isn't always connected to reality in the right way.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:31 PM on May 26, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Maybe the best thing to say to your sweetheart here is, "I know you don't feel the need to lock the door, but I do. I feel much safer with the doors locked. I want to ask you, as my partner, to lock the door every day, because it's important to me."
posted by latkes at 7:32 PM on May 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I think it would help to know when you want the doors locked. There is a big difference between "when we are both gone" and "when I'm running down the stairs to take out the trash." If you're asking for a locked door when you're gone/at night/for long stretches when you're home, then I think crime statistics, talking about a gendered sense of safety, etc. will help. If you're asking for a locked door 100% of the time/even if one is running down the hall to change the laundry sort of deal, I think you're more into "This is a personal favor" territory, in which case I would make the argument more of a "Hey, I get that the chance of anything happening in the 2 minutes the door is unlocked to grab something out of the car is very slim, but this is just a mental quirk I have and I would appreciate it if you can help me out here."
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:32 PM on May 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

Are you sure this is a matter of reasoning? I grew up in a small town. I moved out of said small town when I was fifteen and back for a couple years in college but mostly have lived in much more urban areas since. I still forget. Is he deliberately not locking the door, or is he just having a hard time building this new habit?


If one isn't used to locking the door it's a very difficult habit to get used to. I say that if you want the doors locked, just lock the door yourself, and perhaps remind him as he enters and leaves... But unless he's unlocking them behind you, there shouldn't be any conflict.
posted by patheral at 7:32 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

My partner and I lived in a very good neighborhood a few blocks east of Volunteer park on Capitol Hill in Seattle, when on one fine spring day when I was off shopping and she was cleaning and airing the house with the door open, she turned to see a man maybe in his 30s standing in the foyer just looking at her; she said "Who the hell are you? Get out of my house!"and he responded by taking a couple of steps toward her. She ran to the stairs calling my name and he ran out of the house down the stairs and up the street. We were more careful about keeping the door locked after that.

A couple of years later, a group of juveniles living in a half-way house less than a half-mile from us was arrested and charged with sneaking out at night and raping at least 5 women who had been alone in their houses in our neighborhood. I turned out to know several of the kids involved because I'd kicked them off the playground of the elementary school on our block a number of times for making too much noise.
posted by jamjam at 7:33 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You don't need a reason other than it makes you feel safer and more at ease. There is no risk or detriment to locking the doors. But there is a benefit, to security and for your peace of mind.

So there's no reason not to lock the doors, especially when the lock can be set to lock automatically.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:35 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

> What reasons do you have for locking the door?

There's a man in my neighborhood who thinks I'm Melinda Gates (I'm not).
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:42 PM on May 26, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: The story of Connecticut home invasion turns my stomach so much I can't reread it. What's your dude's plan in case someone comes in armed?

You have a right to feel safe.
posted by discopolo at 7:47 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: he spent hours installing them (and new hinges on one door), and now he will only actually lock them with great reluctance.

Dude, since you will apparently listen to us, I have to point out how peculiar this seems to me, a person who does not know you at all. You spent time and money and effort installing these locks, and now you will only use them with great reluctance? Despite the fact that you said you would, if it would make your person happy, and she says it would make her happy.

She doesn't need proof of a rapist roaming the neighborhood or that there's a crew of sneakthiefs running around taking change and phones or whatever from peoples' hall tables when they don't lock the doors.

You already said you want her to be happy. Keep your word.
posted by rtha at 7:50 PM on May 26, 2014 [20 favorites]

Best answer: Well I guess you have enough responses by now, but I was going to say something similar to dayintoday: the way I sometimes explain my door-locking habit is that I know it's unlikely anyone will break in, but just in case someone does, I don't want to have to explain to the insurance company that I left the door unlocked. I don't know if insurance will even cover your losses in that case.

I also lock my house door every time I exit—unless I'm just taking out the trash or something like that—to maintain the force of habit. If I am in the habit of always locking the door when I go out, so that it feels wrong not to, then it is less likely I will forget at times when it is most important, such as when leaving on a long vacation. The same principle applies to the locks on my car: I lock it every time I park it, including in my own driveway, because if locking it is routine, then I won't forget to lock it when parking in a higher-risk area. (Also, casual auto break-ins seem to be endemic in the area where I live; even living in "good" neighborhoods, I keep getting newsletters from the neighborhood watch or HOA saying that cash or laptops have been stolen from unlocked cars on my street, and I always wonder what possesses people to leave their valuables in unlocked cars!)

I keep my doors locked most of the time while I am home, too, because there are plenty of known cases of rapists and other violent criminals whose m.o. is to enter unlocked homes. It seems unlikely to happen to me, but there is such a low cost to just flipping the deadbolt after I go through the door, there's no reason not to take that simple security measure.
posted by Orinda at 8:00 PM on May 26, 2014 [6 favorites]

Locks aren't a deterrent to someone really determined to get into your place, but to most people who might otherwise casually go inside, yeah, they'll work. And if that's all it takes to keep various would-be murderers, thieves, and rapists out, why wouldn't you use it?
posted by limeonaire at 8:00 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Locking my door means I know where my keys are, which means I probably know where my phone and wallet are. Which comes up when I've worked a long shift.
posted by RainyJay at 8:03 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and other home invasions. Sure, the risk that it will be you is tiny, but locking your door is about as simple as preventative measures come.
posted by Mavri at 8:06 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Use positive reinforcement to help him remember. Every time he remembers to lock the door say "thank you for locking the door, it makes me feel so much safer."
posted by HMSSM at 8:07 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I grew up as a non-locker. When I first moved away from home, I did not lock my doors. It seemed excessive, and like others have mentioned, old habits can be difficult to change. Absurdly difficult to change in my case, because I didn't start locking my doors regularly until after on three separate occasions strangers wandered into my apartment at night, and on another occasion an arsonist lit a fire in my building's basement laundry room after another tenant left that door unlocked.

I very vividly remember being asleep in bed with my boyfriend one night, and waking up to the sound of the bedroom door opening. I could see a strange guy silhouetted in the doorway. He looked at us, blinking up at him, and said, "Oh, sorry" in a confused voice.

Being a nice midwestern girl, I replied automatically with, "It's okay." He closed the door and went out into the living room, where we could hear him sitting down on the couch. My boyfriend got up and, armed with the base of a lamp for protection, went out to tell him that, actually, it was not okay, and he should leave our apartment. The guy, who was either very high or mentally ill, got up calmly when asked, and left without any hassle.

The next dude passed out on our couch and refused to get up and leave. We called the cops. He wouldn't leave when they asked, either, and ended up being carried out, completely limp and uncooperative, by five police officers. Afterwards, I found a receipt he'd dropped, from a nearby bar. Where he was supposed to put his signature, he'd just scrawled the number '4.'

The point of all this being, the world is weird and people are weird. I cannot trust my old habits to keep me safe-- I feel very lucky that none of these incidents caused me lasting harm, because they easily could have gone that way. I wanted to live in this world where everybody was my neighbor and I left my home open to friendship and adventure, but I now realize that I was being deeply, irresponsibly naive. You don't have to live in a bullet-proof panic room, but locking the doors is such a simple, effective way to avoid all kinds of trouble. Just do it.
posted by bookish at 8:09 PM on May 26, 2014 [32 favorites]

Best answer: Growing up with some guys who made breaking and entering into homes a career...they never did the break thing. They would just go from house to house until they found one with the door open...half the battle won, in and out in minutes. So...a very easy way to prevent a robbery.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:12 PM on May 26, 2014 [11 favorites]

Best answer: I used to live in an apartment building where the doors all looked the same, and I scared the SHIT out of my non-door-locking neighbors at night because I'd accidentally wander into their apartment because I wasn't wearing my glasses/wasn't paying attention/was trying to read and walk. (That really only happened once; I realized I was in the wrong apartment because it was really clean and the furniture was different. They were very understanding, surprisingly.)

Also, one time there was a dog running around in the hallway and I almost let it into the wrong apartment (a different one than the one with the nice carpet/furniture) because their door was unlocked and it was barking at the door like that was its home, but it turned out it was someone else's door entirely AND it was a HE dog trying to get to a SHE dog to make puppies. I can't even imagine how mad I'd be to come home to find out there was a strange dog in my apartment having sex with my purebred poodle -- particularly if it was my partner's insistence on not locking the door that led to the friendly/absent-minded neighbor being able to let the perverted pooch in.

So you should lock your doors because even in the best case scenario (IE It's me and I'm just confused) it's still really awkward.
posted by spunweb at 8:18 PM on May 26, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Oh man. We JUST had a series of break-ins where the robbery ring basically walked neighborhoods checking doors until they found an unlocked one, then would go in, wake everyone up, tie up everyone present, ransack the home, and leave the homeowners tied up until someone found them. Sometimes they stopped to make fun of them too. It went on for SEVEN. MONTHS. before they caught these guys, it was awful.

Nobody was hurt -- just terrorized and robbed -- but it was terrible, and the people burgled (I know a couple of them) were traumatized, and the whole city was edgy for months. And literally the entire targeting strategy of these criminals was "try doors until we find one that's unlocked."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:20 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I live in a pretty nice suburban, middle-class neighborhood. I never really worried much about crime in our area. I was pretty confident that I'd never be robbed. It's just not that kind of thing that happens to people like me.

9 days ago, our house was robbed.

They kicked in the front door when we weren't home (a door which we need to replace that I asked for some advice on here).

Before that, I liked to have the doors locked any time I wasn't home whether or not my wife was home and now I insist on it. If both of us are home, I'm confident that any criminals that might target us would move on but I worry about her being home alone or if we're asleep (I'm kind of a deep sleeper).

Lock the damn doors and, while you're at it, think about upgrading the strike plates. It's easy to kick in the door no matter how good the locks are and it's a cheap upgrade (just don't forget to put 3" screws in the hinges too).
posted by VTX at 8:23 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

A few years ago my husband and I were living a few blocks for a big university in an adorable house. We were sitting around (I was in my underwear) our living room late one weekday night and watching TV with the door unlocked when a young guy ran into our house.

He was saying, "You gotta help me, they're gonna kill me." My husband yelled that he had to get out of our fucking house, then followed him outside to make sure he was okay while calling the cops.

I've kept the door locked ever since.
posted by Saminal at 8:26 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

I didn't lock my back door. I live in a pretty safe area. One day, a male acquaintance of mine came to visit and because the front door was shut, he came around the back in the back door, and inside my house (WTF dude!) to see me sleeping, peacefully in my bedroom, nude, as is my habit. He thoughtfully locked the back door on the way out. He's no longer an acquaintance and my doors are locked.
posted by b33j at 8:33 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I always lock my doors. Once, when I was living alone, someone tried to break into my house late one night. One of the more terrifying moments of my life was hearing someone continuing to rattle the doorknob, while I was on the other side screaming at them that I was calling the cops. I don't want to think about what would have happened if it wasn't locked.
posted by topophilia at 8:37 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've never had incidents like these, grew up in a rural 'doors unlocked' area/era, but I still lock the fucking doors because it is a habit. In that, if I don't lock the doors on purpose, I am breaking a habit that I rely on to keep me and my stuff safe. So it's the middle of the day, I'm sitting around dicking about on the internet in the room that has both external doors, I'm expecting a friend, but my doors are still locked because there is no need for them to be unlocked.

Middle of summer, they're open, but only as long as we're in the house/room. If I'm going upstairs for any length of time, they're shut and locked, and the screens are locked, and the gates are shut.

Put it this way, some kids accidentally threw their water bottle over the fence. The deadlocked gate (in the sense it looks like it needs a key, but you reach through the provided hole to turn the knob) was enough that they milled about and headed off (I saw it, worked it out and pitched it back over to them). If I'd had an unlocked gate, or an open one, do you think they'd have wandered in? The psychological effect of the lock is helpful.
posted by geek anachronism at 8:57 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm a big guy, with very little active concern for my personal safety. I work downtown and walk all hours of the day or night - literally all hours. I've gone wandering in reasonably tough neighbourhoods in major US cities (e.g. the Tenderloin), and I've travelled abroad to places like Syria and North Korea and Albania where not everybody is necessarily on my wavelength. I just tend to assume that most people are decent. Maybe I'm naive.

My building is safe; not only is it handily located in Canada, you need a key fob or buzzer to get in the building, and also to go to any specific floor. I've lived here for years, and I've never heard of a serious incident that locking doors prevents. So I have no apparent reason to lock my doors.

But one time, it was late at night and I was tired and distracted and listening to a podcast and I got off the elevator on my floor, and went to my door, and found my key didn't work, and then tried the knob - but the door was locked and I couldn't get in. And about 5 seconds later I realized that I had gotten off the elevator one floor early, and I was at the door of the apartment below mine. But luckily, they had locked their door, and I could go to the elevator and go back up one flight, and never speak of this again - if they hadn't, it could have easily been a really awkward scene; potentially even a criminal one on my part, or a dangerous one if they were serious about self-defence.

So if your wishes don't work, and all the horror stories don't work, think of saving a hapless boob like me the chance to accidentally terrorize someone.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:34 PM on May 26, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Aside from your arguments about feeling safer, which are all totally valid and in my opinion should be enough....

My insurance company won't pay out for any damage or loss that results from my failure to secure the property. So I lock the door.
posted by girlgenius at 9:35 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, girlgenius has it. The reason I got good about locking the door, and how I managed to convince my housemates to do the same, was when I read through my renter's insurance policy about a decade ago and realized it wouldn't cover me if I left the door unlocked. This has been true for every renter's policy I've held over the past 10 years.
posted by nat at 9:52 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't lock our door most of the time because I grew up with no locks and we live in a very safe environment. When I am travelling somewhere unsafe, I lock always and automatically. My husband would prefer that I lock the door, and recently I had to learn to do this extra step (our gate locks automatically and our kid needs the additional lock now or she will take off) but it is a hard habit to break. My brain goes "Safety, leave door unlocked" and I had to retrain myself to think of a previously safe space as dangerous - I look at a staircase door nearby and remind myself that the toddler could fall down there, hence the need to lock. I mean super well but the habit of 30+ years of safety is deep. I need to feel danger to automatically lock.

We put a reminder sticker up at the door which helped initially, but is ignored now. I would guess your partner needs at least several weeks of reminders to get it into a habit. If he has a door habit now that this can be added to like he puts his shoes on, then he turns to lock the door, that would help.

It worked for me to think "I'm protecting her" and even then, I still forget when I'm rushing. Hence the automatic locking!
posted by viggorlijah at 9:52 PM on May 26, 2014

Best answer: In my freshman year of college, I had a roommate who was a very devout evangelical Christian. For a while, she borrowed my car to do things like visit her boyfriend et cetera. After she did this, I observed that the car was being left unlocked. So I went to her and asked her, could she please make sure she locked the car when she was done borrowing it. She replied that if Jesus had meant for it to be stolen, then the locks would do no good. I figured that if Jesus meant for her to be borrowing my car, He would have motivated her to lock the doors like I asked her to. And that was the end of the car-borrowing.

Point being: sometimes it's wise, no matter what you think is the correct thing to do, to respect the preferences of the people you're interacting with.
posted by sparktinker at 10:27 PM on May 26, 2014 [29 favorites]

On the practical side, more for using deadbolt locks than the lock knob thing, is that a door that is locked is also latched securely -- meaning that it won't swing open at some later point because it wasn't quite latched, thusly letting the cat out / letting the skunk in / heating the entire neighborhood do you think we're made of money / etc.

Also, the one time I had stuff stolen -- my laptop with all my pictures on it, a fairly expensive briefcase, and my checkbook which was subsequently used to write many many checks which brought collectors down on my head and that was just a barrel of laughs let me tell you -- I'm fairly sure the reason is because I forgot to lock the car one night (or the somewhat dodgy auto locks didn't) and someone went down trying doors until they won a prize. This is also a good reason not to leave valuable things in cars, but that idea only works so far when it comes to one's house and more or less the same trick applies there also.

Aside from the loss involved, it feels pretty damn dumb when you realize that someone has just up and walked off with your stuff because hey, nothing is stopping them.
posted by sparktinker at 10:44 PM on May 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

Mainly I lock the door because if I don't it rattles in the wind. (My family, friends, and I have experienced property crimes because of unlocked doors but really it's mainly the noise.)
posted by gingerest at 11:05 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My home has been burglarized twice. In both cases it was pretty much devastating. In one of them it happened pretty much for sure because our back door lock was broken.
posted by town of cats at 11:18 PM on May 26, 2014

Best answer: I live in an apartment building and I don't always remember to lock the door. I'm glad that I had the door locked when this happened, though:

I was at home, in my underwear because it was hot. It was nighttime. Someone tried to open the door, and when it didn't work, rattled the handle. Then I heard a dude's voice asking "Laura?" I stayed quiet and he went "Laura" a few times and then wandered away.

I didn't feel threatened at the time because I thought at the time that he had just mistaken the apartment numbers, but if the door had been unlocked he would have walked right into my apartment with me sitting there in my underwear. When I'm at home with my guard down like that, I like feeling secure that no one will walk in - with bad intent or not. There are different levels of safety, right? You want to lock your doors to protect yourself and your property, but you also want to lock them so you can relax.

I later realized that there's no Laura in the apartments next to mine. That made the whole thing a little weird.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:24 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There have been news stories about intruders gaining access to girls through unlocked WINDOWS. It is difficult to imagine a reason to leave doors unlocked.
posted by Cranberry at 12:48 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Never used to lock doors because of a very mistaken assumption that I had nothing worth stealing from then. I'd come back really tired from Coachella and left my laptop bag right by the unlocked door.

Said bag had my laptop, external hard drive and mp3 player, so yeah lost my photos, music and work data.I always lock my doors now, even if I'm stepping out out for a few minutes.
posted by viramamunivar at 2:14 AM on May 27, 2014

Best answer: I work for a chain of local newspapers; one of my duties is to prepare the various weekly police crime reports. I swear, those police reports wouldn't even be HALF as long if people would just lock their houses and cars. Over and over and over again, all you see is "property stolen from unlocked car" or "entry was through an unlocked door/window".
posted by easily confused at 2:25 AM on May 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: As someone from an unlocked door culture (I do not think any of the houses I lived in up to the age of 24 even had locks), I have to use the auto-locking function or else I will forget to lock up about half the time. So that's a thing. As for the reluctance, I get it, it feels strange to me too, but you live in different places, and with different people, you have to be willing to change sometimes.
posted by Nothing at 5:17 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I used to not lock my doors, then one thanksgiving while I was out of town, I was robbed.

Somebody pulled a uHaul truck up and cleaned my house totally out. They only left books, a few bits of clothing and my record player. Everything else, from knickknacks to electronics they took.

It's been almost 20 years and I still sometimes forget that a thing I'm looking for was stolen. Hell just this last Christmas I realized they took the wooden hair barrette my dad made for me as kid. I thought it was still at my folks place. My mom reminded me that when I moved out I took it along with the basket she made when she was little. Both were stolen.

I'm a religious door locker now.
posted by teleri025 at 5:20 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

When I was studing in swizerland i lived in a very nice student hall that had those funny keys that could unlock the apartment door and only my room, but not my flatmates.
The main door was mostly unlocked, because hey, we were students.
Till one day will at lesson i get a frantic call from one of my flatmates who was hiding in the bathroom as one guy from the adiecient mental hospital on day release had wondered in and sat down to watch tv and eat crisps.
By the time i was back he was gone, but from that day weallways locked the door.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 5:41 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: ... and after over 50 great reasons in the responses above, can he come up with even one to justify leaving them unlocked? Because it's easier to open the door?

Really, there isn't one. There never was one. My only question is how this was even a question (not in the sense that you shouldn't have posted it, but - for the life of me I cannot see a counterargument). You don't need a reason, or for us to convince him - he needs to justify why he would actively choose to do something so unsafe.
posted by Dashy at 6:22 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Here's an easy fix...I know you just put on new locks, but buy one with a keypad. If he thinks he's going to get locked out its a quick code entry to get in. I put one on at mom's house after she locked herself out one winter day and I was out of town. She loves it, as do I...
posted by OkTwigs at 6:34 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I have two relevant stories, one funny and one distinctly not funny:

The first is from the days when I lived in Residence at my university. We had 6 person suites with kitchens, bathrooms, living areas, etc. One morning, I got up to go to an early class and there was a naked man half covered with a blanket on our sofa. I made a mental note to ream out whatever roommate was allowing their friends to sleep over naked later and went to class.

Came home to find our house supervisor, the building RA and campus security in the living room talking to my roommates, because naked dude didn't belong to any of the roommates. It was eventually determined that he had been staying in the guest suites downstairs, which were crowded full of people who were partying rather than sleeping and he'd wandered upstairs looking for a quieter place to sleep, found our door unlocked and didn't realize that he was sleeping in what was really more like a private apartment than a dormitory common room.

The second is from a few years back when I was living in the basement suite of a private house. I heard noises upstairs in the middle of the night and went up to check on my elderly landlady and met up with a young man who promised not to hurt me with the crowbar he was carrying as long as I gave him money. There was another man upstairs who apparently had a knife.

When they left and the cops came, one of the detectives said that from the footprints in the snow, it was pretty clear that these guys were just walking up the street from house to house trying doors and when they got to ours, which was accidentally unlocked, they came in and robbed us. I spent years being hyper alert to any noise in the house and very anxious about my safety in my own home.

That is not a fun feeling, and anything he can do to make you feel better and to ward off the possibility of an incident like that robbery from making you feel worse, he should do. Because if you can't feel safe in your own home, where can you feel safe?
posted by jacquilynne at 6:55 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Just so that at least one non-door locker posts in this thread...

I (female) leave the door unlocked when I am home and awake and not living in a downtown city area without a doorman (I have lived in places where people wander the streets drunk--I locked my doors). Nothing has ever happened to me or anyone I know. I consider the risk of something happening to be lower than other risks I take daily (like driving or walking around downtown).

I grew up with this attitude, and it is habit. If I had a partner who really cared, I would probably try to lock the door for their peace of mind. I would probably also think they were a little paranoid.

Also, in case there is a cultural difference between you and your husband, I am fairly sure that in certain cultures it is considered actively rude to your family and close friends to keep your door locked (again, assuming you don't live in a particularly dangerous area).
posted by mkuhnell at 6:57 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I live in a tiny city in the south in the safest part of town. Once a couple of years ago I'd left the door unlocked as I went to get my dog for a walk. A cop walked into my apartment without knocking. He didn't apologize or explain - he basically said 'sorry' and left.

It's not paranoid - this whole thread is full of it happening to people.
posted by winna at 7:18 AM on May 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I grew up in a house that had unlocked doors. It was a nice town with relatively little crime. I like that feeling. Right now, I live in different, nice town with relatively little crime. Two weeks ago, we found one of our patio chairs moved to the neighbor's house at a window. We lock our doors.
posted by plinth at 7:23 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: He just needs to lock the doors already.

That said, does he argue against locking them or just repeatedly not lock them? Sometimes people have difficulty doing stuff, as opposed to being unwilling or discounting your priorities. My partner has a lot of preferences for things like how to park cars. It's not that I don't agree; I either agree or am neutral but there are various things that prevent me from remembering-- or successfully completing the task if I do remember. I have reassured him that I'm not discounting his point of view, and that helps both of us not think there is a slight to the relationship in all of this.
posted by BibiRose at 7:47 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: ... and after over 50 great reasons in the responses above, can he come up with even one to justify leaving them unlocked? Because it's easier to open the door?

Actually he said it was because it's a hassle to get his keys out of his pocket (after having just gotten them out to lock up the shop/garage).

He has agreed to using the auto-lock function of the doorknob. :) Thanks again, everyone.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 7:55 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: We live in a fairly quiet, suburban neighborhood. Not Beverly Hills, but not the 'hood either. I normally keep my doors locked when I'm at home. My husband was always more lax about it, saying "it's not a big deal".

We tend to get a lot of "door-to-door" type of solicitors, both during the day and in the evening hours. We no longer waste our time being polite, we tend to ignore the knocks or tell them we are not interested without even opening the door (to prevent someone from pushing into the house).

A couple of years ago, in broad daylight, one of these guys came and knocked on the door. I wasn't there but my husband was. He had the front door open (we have a screen door that also has a lock) for airflow, and he was in the back of the house.

When my husband ignored the stranger's knocks, the guy opened the screen door and walked into our house.

My husband heard the door open and thought it was strange because he knew it wouldn't be me, and we weren't expecting friends. He walked out and found this man standing full in our living room.

My husband chased him off with a few choice words, and the man offered a lame apology and some excuse about why he thought it was okay to enter the house. He walked away down the street, and my husband walked back into the other room and didn't give it another thought.

Later when I got home and he relayed the story to me, I asked him if he'd called the police. "No, he wasn't going to do anything to me" (my husband is a big guy).

Then I asked him what would have happened if it hadn't been him who had been home, if it had been me instead. I watched recognition dawn over his face.

And he's kept the doors locked ever since.
posted by vignettist at 7:56 AM on May 27, 2014 [10 favorites]

Last year, in the middle of the night, a kindly neighbor (who was very drunk) mistakenly wandered into another kindly neighbor's unlocked house. As he was being (gently!) escorted out, the very drunk neighbor became fighty. The cops were called, and he got fighty with them. That did not work out very well at all. Lock your danged doors! If not for your own safety, for the safety of others.
posted by mimi at 8:17 AM on May 27, 2014

I've had trauma in my past - not related to someone invading my home, thank the gods, but trauma nonetheless - and I feel better locking my doors, because it's a small thing to do to make myself feel safer and as though I am taking some action towards never having it happen again. I realize I can't actually control the future, but this is a small bit of control over a very chaotic world, so it's something that gives me comfort. Growing up, I lived in a small town and we didn't lock our doors, even at night. Then some guy decided to become Local Serial Rapist Man and we started locking the doors. His MO was to enter unlocked homes (and businesses after hours).

When I was at University, we locked our doors because we lived in sketchy neighborhoods. In one apartment building, there wasn't a door handle that turned - it was a metal bar that ran down the inside of the door. (There was no handle on the outside of the door). So the only way to keep the door shut was to lock the deadbolts.

Nowadays, I live in a pretty decent neighborhood, but there have been over 20 "break ins" in the last two months. In every case, it's people entering a house in broad daylight through a door or window that's unlocked, grabbing what they can, and running. Our neighborhood has a large percentage of older folk, so in over 50% of the cases, the people were home when it happened. No, thank you. I know my husband sometimes thinks I'm a little paranoid, but he has said many times that my safety and feelings of safety and security are more important than his convenience.
posted by RogueTech at 8:54 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

When my sister visits, she locks my doors - during the day, when I'm out working on the lawn, always. It's annoying and unnecessary. Otherwise, I don't much care if the doors are locked or not, in my safe, semi-rural neighborhood, with retired next door neighbors who are observant. Ask him if there's a particular reason to leave them unlocked.

Door-locking is a habit that he can learn. Read What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage and reward him for locking the door when he comes in the house. Make a habit of checking the doors to verify that they're locked every evening, maybe more often.
posted by theora55 at 8:56 AM on May 27, 2014

AllieTessKipp: "Actually he said it was because it's a hassle to get his keys out of his pocket (after having just gotten them out to lock up the shop/garage). "

I have a keychain bracelet for EXACTLY THIS REASON. I take them out of the ignition and pop it on my wrist so I can have my hands free but I don't put the damn keys back in the black hole that is my purse and then have to spend five minutes digging around for them. These things cost like 89 cents at any hardware store.

He can also get an around-the-neck lanyard, but I find the coil bracelet is easier to stuff in a pocket. I 100% sympathize with his complaint, it is seriously an issue for me!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:58 AM on May 27, 2014

I carry a carabiner with frequently-used keys on my belt loop.
posted by aniola at 10:19 AM on May 27, 2014

Best answer: I was raised in an "always lock the doors" culture, as was my wife. It seems just good common sense.

We live in a rural area. It is friendly, safe, and we know most of our immediate neighbors. However, we have seen more than a few creepy people walking in our (unfenced) yard that I wouldn't want to just let themselves in.

I lock my doors whenever they are closed; whether someone is inside the home or not, and whether we are asleep or not. It takes two extra seconds after closing the door to lock it, and if a break-in were to happen, I'd want the police and my insurance company to see that there was forced entry; that I didn't just let some scumbag in (or he didn't let himself in).

I'm fairly certain our neighbors lock their doors as well.

One of the creepy people knocked on our front door once. I opened the door just a crack. He pretended that there was a house for sale in the neighborhood (there wasn't, at the time), and he had been hired to do an appraisal, and wanted to know if I knew the owner of a (vacant, foreclosed) house (he mentioned the house number). Without answering the question, I asked him to identify the address of the house supposedly for sale, as well as which bank had hired him. At this point he abruptly turned around and left in quite a hurry (on foot, down the road, which is unusual in that the houses in my neighborhood are such a distance apart that you'd really expect someone to be driving). He probably had tried my door first, and found it locked, before knocking. Do I want this kind of suspicious person to be able to walk right into my house? No.

We called the police. ("If you see something, say something" -- right?) The officer who came to take a statement told me that "this neighborhood is absolutely safe," and, "the worst we deal with here is kids knocking over mailboxes at night." Maybe so, but I'm not going to take Officer Friendly's word as an excuse to leave the doors unlocked. There might still be some day or night where our safe neighborhood suddenly becomes unsafe. My doors are locked at all times, unless they are in use to enter or leave the house.

I once lived in a suburban area where I know for a fact at least two of my neighbors did not lock their doors. This was close enough to cities like Boston and Worcester that the practice baffled me.

Shortly after I met one of them and moved in, I was invited to "come in and borrow any tools or anything you need at any time; we never lock our doors." I found this quite odd, and still asked for permission any time I needed to borrow something. I locked my doors in that neighborhood, too. While I didn't want my neighbors victimized, I know that a criminal is going to go for the easy bait -- the unlocked house -- and I don't want to be that easy bait even if the neighborhood is supposedly "safe."

Finally, "He wants me to be happy; I would be happier with locked doors."

That alone should be enough. What harm does it do to lock the doors? Far less harm, I would contend, than leaving them unlocked.
posted by tckma at 12:17 PM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Another approach to this problem is to follow the, "When in Rome..." guidelines.

The lock/don't-lock cultures are typically correlated with where you live. If you live in the city, you'll have a lock the door culture. If you live in a rural town, you'll maybe have a don't lock the door culture. That's all well and good, but when you move to a different place, you don't take your lock/don't-lock culture with you.

I spent some time in a town of about 5,000 people. The people I lived with didn't lock the doors, no one around us did either. Yet I bet if they were living anywhere other than a town of 5,000, they'd be locking their doors.

So, tell your partner that it's not a matter of trying to divide your cultural chasm, but rather it's about doing as the Romans do. (So long as you're not living in a town of 5,000 that is. Otherwise this argument would go against you.)

(That said too, I still tried to lock the doors when I lived in that town when I could. As everyone has been saying above, there is literally no drawback to it, and the potential benefits are huge.)
posted by SollosQ at 1:29 PM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I live in Britain, I've always locked my doors. Though I've always lived in the city. My father doesn't lock his door when he's in. However like everyone else has said anyone could walk in. Plus it doesn't matter if the person who's in is a big, burly bloke. If a gang come in the house they can over power you. Also criminals here are targeting the countryside more now. Areas that used to be crime free are now frequently targeted. Equestrian and farm equipment is worth a lot of money, as is red diesel and heating oil. There used to be a lot of honesty boxes in the countryside, but they're now few and far between thanks to the rise in crime. So even if you think it's a safe, quiet place you should lock your doors.
posted by Ranting Prophet of DOOM! at 1:40 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe he's forgetting?
Place a sweetheart post-it note near the door knobs for a few days to get him in the habit of locking them.
posted by artdrectr at 3:31 PM on May 27, 2014

Best answer: it's a hassle to get his keys out of his pocket


You should make him carry a purse for a couple of weeks. And not an "I've got my shit together with everything organized in different compartments" kinda purse - I mean a "dump everything plus the kitchen sink into one big bag" kinda purse.

He'll change his tune about how much trouble it is to dig his keys out of his pocket . . . .

And if he really can't stand the pockets, but does wear a belt, I've got a snap-able leather strap key ring (kind of like this, although I'm pretty sure I got mine at Target or something for about half the price) that I use for my janitor-large set of work keys, and (with a little practice) it's easy to loop it around my belt and then snap it one-handed without looking.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:32 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Schlage makes some really nice keypad locks, that aren't terrible expensive (~$100). They fit into the regular hole size drilled for most handle sets. The upside is they can be configured to automatically lock and will do so after a few seconds.

Since it's a keypad you don't have to dig out your keys to reopen it. I put them on one door because I kept getting locked out when emptying the trash. Had to go digging for the Hide-a-Key faux rock in the garden all the time. Even our 5 year old knows how to work it, after coaching him on keeping the number secret. You can set your own code, or even several to be able to give one to someone else and remove it later.

Perhaps something like this might be a good in-between solution. You'll get the piece of mind and he'll only have to remember an entry code.
posted by wkearney99 at 9:37 AM on May 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just wanted to add: Not only lock your doors, but you may also want to close your blinds at night, at least enough so no one can just peer in.

Several years ago, I had an experience that still gives me chills to this day. My father had passed away and my mother had made the decision to sell the family cattle farm. We had liquidated the cattle and equipment at auction, moved most of the furnishings to the new home she had purchased in a nearby town, but stayed at the farmhouse to keep an eye on things while trying to sell it. We lived miles out of town off a country road. We had an unusually long, gravel drive way and we never had random people just drive up to our house.

We always, always locked our doors because years earlier (prior to the incident I am about to describe below) the creepy man who rented a nearby house walked onto our back porch late at night and peered in through the sliding glass door as my mother and sister were watching tv. My father was on duty that night, so it scared the living daylights out of my mother and sister. I was thankfully asleep and missed out. We also had a family who lived up the road and down a holler who were notorious for stealing anything not nailed down and red hot, not to mention a rural drug dealer who lived up the same road and up a hill. Daniel Woodrell territory, basically.

We were asleep at the farmhouse when we awoke to the distinctive sound of gravel crunching in the drive. It was well past midnight. We did not have security lights. We crept out to the utility room and peeped out the windows to see a car coming up to the house. Because we lived in creek bottom, there was a heavy amount of fog that night, so it was hard to see the make and model of the car, but we could tell it wasn’t anyone that we knew. If it was, they would have called in advance anyway, and no one ever came to visit us at this time of night.

When the car came to a stop, we could tell there were two people in it. From their size, it was two men with long, bushy hair and beards. Again, no one we knew matched this description. So it’s late, it’s dark, and there are two scary ass looking people in our driveway in the middle of nowhere. Knowing that it would take deputies forever to respond, I grabbed a rifle and my mom grabbed a pistol. Mind you, we are not fond of guns by any means, but we were thinking of self-preservation.

One of the men got out of the car. His silhouette was big. He walked to our back door while his buddy stayed in the car. He came up to the door and grabbed the screen door that was latched shut with a hook. Behind it was a residential door with glass panes that could easily be broken. Whoever it was, he grabbed the screen door handle and tried to get in, rattling the door. He paused and then tried to pull the door open again. Stopped. Meanwhile, we’re on the other side of the door, terrified that we were going to have to shoot this person if they broke in through the door and have no clue who or what is still in the car or if they are armed. To our great relief, he left, went back to the car, and drove slowly up the drive and up the road. Thank god for latches and locks!

We did not sleep for the rest of the night. We still do not know who it was, but my mother always thought it was someone looking for the rural drug dealer since he too had a very long gravel drive way. Thinking about that night makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck even now.

At any rate, consider closing your blinds, too, since the town I live in just experienced a peeping tom who escalated from peeping into windows to entering homes through unlocked doors and sexually assaulting young college women.

Stay safe.
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 12:17 PM on May 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: "Locked doors make me happy" is the only reason he should need. And you can tell him I said so.
posted by caryatid at 5:14 PM on May 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

A drunk stranger walked into our house one evening while my husband was in the kitchen and I was upstairs with our young son. My husband met him in the front hall and blocked his path and said "Wrong house, Buddy." The guy ignored my husband and tried to push past him into the house. My husband grabbed him by the lapels, slammed him against the wall and wrestled him back outside. Then he slammed and locked the door. I had no idea any of this was happening but it freaked us right out. We keep our doors locked all the time now.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:15 PM on May 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

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