It’s been a tough year for Oakland. Burglaries of cars, homes and businesses skyrocketed from 8,797 in 2011 to 12,549 in 2012. That’s a 44% increase, or one burglary every 42 minutes.
And Oakland Mayor Jean Quan wants to do something about it.
She’s hoping to get frightened people out of their homes and into weekend workshops to fill their time productively and get to know their neighbors.
In her newsletter last week, a class was advertised to do just that – Introduction to Lock Picking. “Have you always wanted to know how to pick a lock?” asked the ad. “In many cases, opening a lock without a key is easier than you think!” It’s true – I always assumed it was pretty hard and not at all like you see in the movies. The class only costs $40 (less than a call to a locksmith, one presumes), and is open to ages 10 – 101 (I’m always encouraging my 12 year old to take up more hobbies).
The same newsletter advises Oakland residents to fight back against burglaries by locking their doors.
Wouldn’t want to take away the challenge from all those would be lock pickers.
Did you know there is an organization out there dedicated to…wait for it…”sport picking?” I thought this had to do with index fingers and nostrils, but it turns out I was waaaaay off.
The organization, TOOOL (The Open Organization Of Lockpickers) hosted the workshop, and TOOOL instructor Michael Fitzhugh pointed out that lock picking is a useful skill to have if you lock yourself out of your home.
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan had a different approach to the problem: “Call a locksmith!”
Both work. Who’s to say what the best approach is.
“We’re out to teach people a hobby skill they can enjoy at home or without a group,” said Fitzhugh. Huh. A solo hobby. Like knitting, photography, masturbation, or balancing plates on your head. Hey, it’s probably easier than doing this:
But not everyone sees human nature in such a generous light. Oakland resident Noah Garber wrote in an email, “For reasons that can not be explained, and defy logic, there is a class this weekend on lock picking. Given the uncontrollable crime in Oakland, we are beyond ourselves that Oakland can advertise an event on lock picking. It’s akin to teaching a class on making IED’s in Iraq.”
They didn’t have an IED class that weekend, but they did offer “Build A Robot, “ “Electroluminescent Wire Projects,” “DNA Sequencing,” and “Telescope Making.”
To each their own.
Mayor Quan said she will do a better job reviewing listings in the future. Guess there was a typo somewhere in there she missed.