In the middle of the night Saturday night/Sunday morning there was a very loud boom outside. And then nothing. It was odd. Usually if there’s a crash of some sort, there are residual sounds. People yelling, debris falling, trucks backing up from whatever they crashed into, etc etc. I don’t want to give the impression I live on a interstate or anything, but it’s a fairly busy street and we’re only 3 stories up, so most of the street noise reaches us. Weekend nights usually bring quite a bit of noise. We’re used to it, but I hadn’t heard anything like this before. It sort of sounded like metal, but it had no echo. After a few more moments of complete context-less silence, I wasn’t even sure I’d heard it in the first place.
A while later (it may have been moments, but I drifted back to sleep and it felt like an hour or so), I heard it again. It was less loud, but still enough to wake us. It repeated three times, almost like a bell tolling. The “metal” sound was still there, but there was another component I couldn’t place. If it hadn’t been ridiculously early on a Sunday, I would have just assumed it was construction noise. Someone loading or unloading heavy things or whatnot. There’s still enough “urban renewal” going on around here that random mornings get a bit loud. After the third boom, there was some indistinct yelling. Was this someone being chased off? Was this a nearby resident voicing his displeasure at the sound? I’m not sure. After that, it was still again and I went back to sleep.
In the morning, we discovered what had happened and it was…disconcerting. The entrance to our building is inset and more or less directly below us. It has two sets of doors to get through, both glass, with glass “walls” that let in a bit more light. The first set grants you access to the shops on the first floor, the second set grants you access to the residences. There’s a security box on the outside that lets you in if you know a code, or lets you dial some friends to let you up. The outside doors are unlocked when the tea room on the first floor is open.
At some point in the night someone had used a steel cigarette receptacle to break through two glass walls and into our apartment complex.
So what happened? Who did this? There didn’t appear to be any additional vandalism or theft, so either breaking down the doors was the point, or they were chased off before they could go any further. It makes me wonder, though. I figure there are pretty much two types of scenarios: malicious thievery, or stupid drunk people.
Which of these bothers me the most? Not the idea that someone was trying to break in. It happens. I mean, it hasn’t happened here. Most of the theft-y crime in our area is car related. Despite what the news tries to tell you about this being the most dangerous city in America, it’s actually not that terrible unless you’re stupid about protecting your valuables, training to be in a gang in a real city (or live in the relatively small area where such training goes on), or are a halfway-house resident who isn’t particularly interested in rehabilitation. …Sorry. Soap box. My point is, that the idea that someone (or a few someones) took the time to plot how to break into our building doesn’t really bother me. Plus, they’re completely random (unless you’re very stupid about advertising how easy it would be to steal from you) so there’s ultimately not much one can really do to completely prevent them without living in a fort.
It bothers me much, much more that this is the work of stupid drunk people. Perhaps it was just a group of passersby daring each other into something stupid, but the fact that a second set of doors was damaged, granting access to the apartment building makes me suspicious. I can’t help but imagine that it was the work of someone who lives in my home and thought it would be cool/fun/easier to just bash in the doors so they could get upstairs when they forgot their code or whatever. This may sound less plausible, but it’s well within the realm of possibilities. This building is a pretty solid mix of older couples, a few very young families (like us – young referring to the age of the children, mind you), and whatever we’re call yuppies these days. Young kids acting like they’re the shit because they’ve got a swanky loft downtown and haven’t realized that college is over and they probably shouldn’t treat the place their parents have paid for like it’s a dorm. It’s only noticeable on big party weekends (this is St. Pat’s weekend) or when one randomly throws a party. Sunday morning the elevators reek of sticky beer and people leave bits of trash or whatever in the lobby, the garage, or in the elevator banks. It’s not cool, but in a building that’s large enough that you can remain relatively anonymous, you’re bound to get a couple of bad eggs who think that the rules don’t have to apply to them because odds are nobody will know it’s them.
At first, my reaction surprised me, but then I remembered how our country generally reacts when under attack. Remember the Oklahoma City Bombing and how devastated and freaked we were that it was “one of us” that planned and executed the whole thing? It didn’t seem possible, and in many ways it was more disturbing than 9/11. At least then, it was “others” we could point the finger at and take a small amount of comfort in the fact that they want what we have. Am I oversimplifying? Of course I am, but the general sentiment is the same.
I’d just rather when the email comes out that it talks about an attempted break-in that was scattered by our alarm system and talks about the ridiculously fast response time of the local police department. I don’t want to see the cops pull up in a couple of days and arrest someone I’ve shared an elevator with who couldn’t bother to respect our communal space.