Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Securicup™

To understand this, you need to see our front door:

Please note the rectangular sections of glass near the door handle. This is the standard Identikit door provided for homes in the suburbs.

Gloria sent me the neighborhood newsgroup summary last week. I usually don't traffic in arguments about shrub height, but this time there was a note about two break-ins that happened in our neighborhood in the last month.

At least one of us is home quite a bit during the day, but since we were leaving for San Diego the next day, I was troubled. Our house is geared up, as many of your homes are, and our "electronic device exposure" in the event of a robbery would be substantial. We have an alarm system, but I suspected that these break-ins were of the smash and dash variety.

To me, it seemed like the easiest way to commit a robbery would be to break one of the small panes of glass near the door handle, reach inside, and turn the deadbolt. That would get me into the house with the least amount of noise and visible damage to the door.


Later that day, I saw a little orange bowl on our counter. This bowl is so small that I don't even know what it's used for--too small for a human, certainly, or even a squirrel, although it might be appropriate for a grasshopper at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

I suddenly realized, though, that the circumference of this bowl was almost an exact match for the dead bolt assembly on the back of our front door.

"I have an idea," I said to Gloria as I walked into her study.

"Is this the kind of idea that stays in your head, or one that you do something about?" she asked.

"The latter," I said.

"Oh," she said.

"I call it 'The Securicup'," I said, holding up the little orange bowl. "TM."

If this were an earlier era, Gloria would be taken faint and have to go lie down "for a spell." As a modern women, though, she has to remain in her chair and face the mounting dread.

This was the theory: if I could mount that orange cup around the lock assembly, it would be much more difficult to turn the deadbolt. So I got some Gorilla tape, butterflied the pieces so that there wouldn't be any wrinkles, and did this:

I know--beauty, eh? And if someone broke that little pane of glass and stuck their hand in, they would have a very substantial WTF moment. Once installed, the little orange bowl was impossible to turn, because the tape was very strong, and it was even harder to pull off the tape. So I was hoping that after 15-30 seconds of total confusion, a burglar would retreat instead of standing exposed on the front porch.

Gloria was laughing so hard that she couldn't say anything for a while. "Mock the innovator," I said sternly. "But when we come back from San Diego and The Securicup--TM--has foiled a burglary, that mocking will turn to shame."

"I'm ready to take that chance," she said.

So off we went to San Diego, knowing that The Securicup™ was on the job.

When we returned from San Diego, all was well. The next day, Gloria sent me a link to an article that said the burglar had been caught. In the article was this bit of news:
Acosta would always strike around noon during the weekdays, tapping out glass to reach in and unlock the door, and then try to disguise the break-in.

"I DEMAND an apology!" I shouted as I walked into her study. She started laughing immediately. "This man would clearly have been FOILED by The Securicup!" I said.

"TM," she said.

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