Mayor Jean Quan Promotes Lock-Picking Classes, Gives Young Burglars a Chance to Succeed

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Helping one burglar at a time
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan just might have made crime all that much easier in a city coping with a disturbing homicide rate.

The struggling mayor is getting well-earned shit from her constituents after she not-so-brilliantly encouraged residents to sign up for a weekend workshop on how to pick locks via her newsletter.

Before you allow your head to explode, try to understand her logic: According to the Oakland Tribune, Quan thought the workshop would be helpful, helpful to the residents who lock themselves out of their cars or homes.

From the workshop ad itself:

Have you always wanted to know how to pick a lock? In many cases, opening a lock without a key is easier than you think!

Join us in this workshop as we introduce the art and technique of lockpicking, explaining the function of pin tumbler locks, wafer locks, padlocks, and many others. By the end of this workshop, you'll have a solid understanding of how lock systems work and you'll know what steps to take should you ever find yourself standing keyless outside the door to your own home!

Naturally, Quan's friends and enemies called her out on this idea, expressing a lack of confidence in both Quan and the lock-picking workshop.

"This is awful," one person wrote on an Oakland chat group. "How could she possible [sic] do that in this climate? What's next? The fundamentals of armed robbery?

"Of all the incredibly unbelievable things I've witnessed in my life, this tops the list."

And of course, there were some enjoyable responses from Trib readers themselves:

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After reading these responses and perhaps realizing "gee this does kinda sound like a dumb idea," Quan apologized for poorly phrasing the rationale behind the workshops.

"I am ultimately responsible for what goes out," the mayor wrote in a statement "and I and our editor will do a better job reviewing these listings in the future before sending them."

The good news is that we checked online and nobody has yet registered for this Saturday afternoon class.





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15 comments
helen678
helen678

It is good attempt.I appreciate your work. lock picking  itself is a special activity which can prevent people from any damage.When choosing lock pick sets, it's important to look for strict manufacturing tolerances and quality materials.I also bought a lock pick set from lockpickingstore.

www.lockpickingstore.com

mkellegrew
mkellegrew

Manufacture controversy about your own side of the bay, idiot. It's like, who needs comment trolls with a paper like yours?

mkellegrew
mkellegrew

Manufacture controversy about your own side of the bay, idiot. It's like, who needs comment trolls with a paper like yours?

briansays
briansays

oakland's answer to avalos and campost

ryanlrussell
ryanlrussell

We appreciate your helping get the word out about the workshop, hope to see you there!

ReportingIsDead
ReportingIsDead

Such a dumb article. Poor journalism (is this supposed to be journalism or just someone spouting BS because they happen to have their own forum for it). Here's an interesting question: What percent of crime in Oakland involves lock picking? Oh wait, you didn't bother to ask that question. Here's another question: who makes up the participants of this workshop? Oh that's right, you didn't bother to ask that question either. Why would a real burglar in Oakland bother with picking a lock if they could just as easily break a window or enter a home in any number of destructive ways? How easy is it to learn how to pick a lock? Is the lock on your door any good (you could learn a little about the answer to that question if you bothered to try and learn to pick it--it might be pathetically easy or it might be tremendously difficult and you might learn something!) You didn't bother to do any real investigation--is this the kind of thing you're passing off as writing these days? I suppose if it pays the bills why bother to do any real work....

chickwithpicks
chickwithpicks

This strikes me as some astonishingly lazy or just plain biased reporting. Why didn't you get a hold of the organizers (or really, anyone in the locksport/ethical lockpicking community) and ask them.

I attended just such a workshop last year. It wasn't seedy. The organizers and speakers emphasized the ethics of lockpicking. I had a great time. It was a community of ordinary men, and women (like me), and kids, all sitting around tables, practicing and learning and teaching.

We are a community of people who love puzzles and find lockpicking, like knitting, or fixing cars, or anything else you do with your hands, to be a relaxing hobby. Just as it's possible to own guns for the hobby of target shooting, and not because you intend to commit murder, it's also possible to own a set of lockpicks and never pick a lock that you don't have permission to.

FUD1
FUD1

FEAR! UNCERTAINTY! DOUBT! PANIC! Sensationalist media is at it again. Do you really think that burglars don't already have these skills? Or that picking a lock is, in any way, easier than just breaking a window and opening the door? If you think this is a terrible idea, then attend the workshop and see how much fun it can be to finally open a lock that's been eluding you.

Christraper Sings
Christraper Sings

This is actually part of a pretty cool weekend of workshops at the new hacker-space in downtown Oakland. This story is dumb. No love for Quan, but this is pretty benign.

Jan Blum
Jan Blum

Does anyone wonder why Oakland crime has risen under Quan's tenuree?????

塞繆塞繆
塞繆塞繆

WTF is wrong with her! And you guys voted for this person? No wonder there is a lot of crime in her city

Stacey Corso
Stacey Corso

One of the many reasons my first mayoral choice was Rebecca Kaplan!

Able_Dart
Able_Dart

A quick look at the weekend workshop website shows that their perspective is from maker/hacker culture. Lock picking is a staple within that culture. It's pretty clear that the intent behind this course is benign, but of course nobody cares about that now. Also I doubt most burglars in Oakland have or think to acquire lock picking skills. All that said, Jean Quan has morons on her press staff. 

Anna  Lee
Anna Lee

How has she not been ousted as mayor yet? Crime was already skyrocketing in Oakland without this nonsense. And blowing nearly $1M to keep the feds from taking over Oakland PD? She's a train wreck.

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