Saturday, January 01, 2005

Home Security

I love a clean, attractive, well-organized home, but none of that matters if it is not safe. Before we found our house, we lived in an apartment, just south of UC, on Ohio Avenue. I rarely felt safe. The area was crime-ridden. Because our air conditioner was nearly useless, we slept with the windows open and were treated to the nightly sounds of drunken fights, car accidents, and, once, a shooting. I was thankful that our apartment was on the third floor and that the walls were brick. During the day, things didn’t seem so bad and I often walked from our apartment to the pool or Starbucks or Blockbuster. However, I rarely completed a trip without being accosted by a homeless person or being subjected to sexual comments from drivers and pedestrians. Living there was uncomfortable.

Our new home is in a much better area, but still within the Cincinnati city limits. I’ve noticed signs that the previous owners of the house were security conscious. The basement windows are barred and the basement door has security glass. All four outside doors have multiple locks – thumb lock, dead bolt, and, on two doors, slide latches. Even the door leading from the house to the basement has two slide latches. Mike and I joke about the monsters a previous owner must have kept down there. Every window has a lock. The backyard is lit by an enormous floodlight. Despite, or maybe because of, the locks and bars, I have felt safe in our new house, until Wednesday night.

The previous owner came by to pick up some packages and I used the opportunity to ask her a few questions. The kitchen door (leading to the backyard) and its locks are obviously new, so I asked her why they replaced the existing door. She revealed that the original door had been KICKED IN while the house was vacant. I took this all rather calmly, but after she left, I was keenly aware that I was all alone, at night, in a house that had been broken into.

Should I be worried? I have an over-active imagination. Sometimes, I run and leap into bed for fear that the monster beneath it will grab my ankles. I often refuse to go in the basement at night, because the Grudge, or the bogeyman, may be hiding down there. Now my fears are less fantastical. I am worried about an actual “bad man.”

Mike, of course, tells me not to worry. However, he is the sort of person that believes that denying a thing makes it not so. (For instance, when in the middle of Nowhere, Montana, smoke from the engine compartment flooded the interior of my car, and he said, “Smoke? I don’t see smoke.”) His words offer me little solace. However, an exhaustive, 3-hour search of the internet (most trusted of sources) has failed to reveal that I am in danger. The neighborhood looks fairly safe and, through citizen actions, is becoming safer. But I am still thankful for the bars and locks.


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