I was born in 1965. I can remember a time when we never locked our doors. But I can also remember when we started doing so, and why. We began locking the doors in the mid-70s due to a spike in local crime. That was almost 50 years ago. Today, I wouldn’t think about leaving my home without locking the doors first. But people still do it.
According to a survey conducted by Vivint Smart Home, 58% of Americans frequently forget to lock their doors. In addition, 44% admit to leaving the garage door wide open when not home. Both things sound crazy in the modern world. But that still begs the question of why. Are people careless? Are our minds too occupied to remember? Do we just assume that crime only affects other people?
Everybody Forgets From Time to Time
If we were honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that everyone forgets to lock the doors from time to time. I am pretty diligent about checking before I get in the car and drive away. But even I have forgotten once or twice. It’s normal. I am rushing out the door with a million things on my mind – and locking up isn’t one of them.
Forgetting frequently is another matter. How often constitutes frequently? Each person must decide that for themself. But anything defined as frequent is probably too often. Forget one time too many and that is the one time that burglars take advantage of your forgetfulness.
Could Screens Have Something to Do With It?
I can think of one possibility that might explain frequently forgetting to lock the doors: excessive screen time. These days, you can hardly go anywhere without seeing people glued to their phones. If you have never noticed it yourself, that is probably because you never pull your own eyes away from the screen.
We have become addicted to our screens. If something doesn’t appear on the screen, we are hard pressed to pay attention to it. Think about your own situation. How often do you walk out the door while your eyes are glued to your phone? How often have you simply forgotten to lock the door because of it?
Are People Oblivious to Crime?
Another possible explanation is that people are just oblivious to crime. Despite crime being a universal problem, it is still entirely possible to go your entire life without ever being burglarized. It is possible to not have your car broken in to or something stolen out of the garage.
We human beings are particularly good at compartmentalizing life. We do it all the time in relation to crime. We just assume, based on our own lack of personal experience, that bad things don’t happen where we live. You hear people say that very thing all the time. And if that is your mindset, are you more likely to forget to lock your doors?
Home Automation Is One Solution
Regardless of why people forget to lock their doors, home automation is one solution to the problem. With smart locks and a home security system, homeowners can be alerted to the fact that they have left the doors unlocked. Then, using their smartphones, they can lock things up remotely.
A lot has changed since my family first began locking the doors some 50 years ago. It is hard for me to imagine anyone purposely failing to lock the doors in this day and age. But people still forget on a regular basis. I’m not exactly sure why, though there are lot of possible explanations. Pick your favorite.