Down the garden path: Lock windows or come home to a break-in

After reading an earlier item about first-floor / garden apartment living, Cynthia M. shared some advice with us: “I have lived mostly in first-floor apartments in Chicago except for one year that I spent on the third floor. I hated being up so high and only seeing treetops. I felt disconnected and once I was up, I didn’t want to go back down two flights of stairs.

“The one steadfast rule to first floor living: never leave a window open. Never. Ever. Not even with the little locks that the new cheap vinyl windows have on the sash. They are flimsy and create a false sense of security.

“I accidentally left open a window a few summers ago in my Lincoln Square apartment and fretted about it all morning. When I returned from lunch I was informed by the receptionist that the police had called and that someone was caught breaking into my apartment. They didn’t get in all the way; a neighbor working on his house saw him and called the police. The Chicago police actually caught someone in the act! When has that ever happened? Would it ever happen again? I wouldn’t bet on it.

“The lesson was learned and I close up now when I leave. It’s easier to turn on the fans and open up the windows when I get home and I prefer a stuffy apartment over the stomach-sinking message that the police are waiting for you at your place.”

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