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You’ve got to lock your doors Brunswick County.
The car, the house, the shed; all of them—it’s time.
I’m not from here, but I’ve lived in North Carolina long enough to know you don’t want to hear this. North Carolinians love to leave the windows open and the doors unlocked almost as much as they love setting fires in their yards.
But wherever I’ve lived in this state I have seen truly impressive strings of unforced breaking and entering reports.
I thought the reports of thefts from just the passenger side of a baker’s dozen unlocked cars strung out along the length of Wake Forest’s 2-mile South Main Street one spring day was going to be hard to beat.
But I was here no more than a week when the reports of B&Es from 19 vehicles down one street in Holden Beach came in.
I swear, North Carolina should replace the Tar Heel with a picture of Snuffy Smith stealing a pie from the windowsill where it was left to cool.
Everywhere I’ve been in this state the people love living where they don’t have to lock up —not at night, not when they’re running into the store, not when the car is parked just outside.
But that’s a problem. Not loving where you live, but that you live where you can leave the doors unlocked.
It’s too nice here and your punishment for that is so many of us who didn’t grow up like that have moved here.
I grew up in Florida and like everyone in Florida, I’m not from there either. We were all tourists who visited Disney World and Weeki Wachee and the Gatorland Zoo and then we wouldn’t leave.
Put enough people in one place like that who don’t know each other from Adam and you get what I call friendly, but suspicious, neighbors—the kind that like a good fence.
I grew up where everybody locked their doors because there was always somebody new showing up.
You don’t know me, I don’t know you—so we’ll just smile friendly and wave, then make sure the other guy hears your car alarm chirp as you lock the door behind you.
Now here in North Carolina, everybody who moves in has it backwards.
They get here and start thinking “I want to live like the locals do. I want to kick back and relax and enjoy the weather and the view and the southern hospitality.
And it works. They relax and slow down; they don’t have to keep their head on a swivel looking out for the next guy who cuts them off in traffic.
Then they start to realize if they are going to go out to the car, realize they left something in the house, go back in again, head back and reach the car door but remember one more thing and have to do another shuttle run back and forth, it would be easier to just leave all those doors unlocked.
The next thing you know, you’re wondering where you put that GPS you thought you left on the dashboard, or maybe it was on the front seat next to your purse, which was there just a minute ago.
The other side of the coin is you’re out of practice locking up, so you will lock the keys in the car—most likely at the Piggly Wiggly.
But that’s the price you pay for vigilance. Better that you’re staring at your keys on the driver’s seat than wondering where all your stuff went.
Lock those doors.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or email@example.com.