Uncle Bill and the deadbolt lock

Another tidbit from Maureen’s family:
Her son Bill lost a computer when a burglar broke into his house last week, so Bill changed the locks. The front-door lock has a deadbolt that can even lock a person inside as well as outside—that is, the door can be unopenable from either side.
Bill’s niece Natalie, who lives in the house with her two little daughters (and Bill and Maureen) was unable to get out of the house one day last week. (This could also have been a problem for the 87-year-old Maureen, who broke a hip last month and has respiratory and kidney disorders as well.) A few days ago Natalie gave Bill a piece of her mind and he reset the deadbolt so at least someone can get out while Bill is at work or otherwise absent.
Don’t you think Bill has gone too far?

Bill reset the lock so that people aren’t trapped in the house in case of an emergency? No, I don’t think he went too far. Locks are supposed to keep people out, not in, right? It seems dangerous that people can’t get out of the house if the person who has the key is absent.

You ain’t heard nothin’ yet. He had only one telephone (not a cell phone) which was in his room–behind a locked door. (He took his cell phone with him, of course.)
Oh–and Maureen, his mother, owns the house. If she were vigorous and more assertive he would most likely not take advantage of her like that.

“Uncle Bill” sounds like he has control issues and that he is unable to see where his actions would have potentially negative effects. If the fire department is called and they can’t get in, they are going to use an axe or a Halligan tool to get in and that’s going to mean a new door and jamb. Get some quotes on what that will cost and unless Bill is an idiot, he’ll change the lock.

Also,it might be necessary to remind Bill that if his daughters go to school and tell their teachers that they were locked inside with no key to get out and that he hides the phone, Child Services may pay him a visit. If they do, they better not find his children locked in with no way to get out or he’ll have a case opened up on him.

Well, they are his grand-nieces, but I know there’ll be hell for him to pay if anything happens to them on account of his shenanigans. And I don’t mean just his infuriated niece bawling him out!

Apparently I misunderstood the OP. Yes, Bill went too far in locking his relatives in the house while he was away. Good for Bill’s niece for raising hell.

Actually, if your door has a window in it, a double lock prevents someone from just breaking the window and reaching in and turning the lock. It also discourages burglars who might climb in through a small window but couldn’t open the door to get their friends in or use the door to get larger items out. Somebody throwing a TV out the window (if it even fits through a window) will attract more attention than somebody walking through the front door with it.

But double locks are extremely dangerous. As has been pointed out, someone could get locked inside in case of emergency. A compromise is to keep a key in the inside lock and only remove it when the house is vacant. But if you have multiple families coming and going at different times, this would be hard to coordinate. They are also illegal in some areas.
But I have to ask, if Uncle Bill feels all proprietary about his phone, why not buy a mobile phone that the other occupants can use when Uncle Bill is not home? You can buy fairly cheap prepaid phones. Buy several, if you like.

That’s all well and good if I could convince Bill that he is not the victim of a close relative with sticky fingerrs (he also lost, so he said, a drill and a grinder). He is rather tight-fisted; he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke anymore (he has emphysema), and he is semi-literate–he has actually had me write letters for him. But he owns a bright yellow sports car (which I call the “Daytona Banana”) and he took regular weekend trips to the Inland Empire until his mother’s mishap. Getting money out of him is like trying to pull teeth with tweezers.

The front door has only small, decorative windowpanes in it. And I suppose Natalie could get out the back door, but Maureen couldn’t maked it from there to the front yard–not in her wheelchair or walker.

Well, that household sounds just a bit messed up and dysfunctional. The niece who has two children in the house should have her own damn phone, and the safety of the children is up to her, and to the homeowner. Letting some other occupant run roughshod over them is their own fault.

As to the lock, yes, it should either be fixed so occupants can get out without a key, or one should be hung on a lanyard next to the door so it can be found and used whenever needed and not lost. Still dangerous in an emergency, though.

Not to mention the residents of the home should have a key to the lock.

Not to mention- a house large enough to hold three adults and two children with only one door in or out??? Really?

According to the OP, Bill did reset the deadbolt so that people can get out after his niece bitched at him sufficiently enough.

Um. This is actually a crime.

Actually, the relatives are Maureen (87); her son Bill (56); Bill’s son Arthur (23); Maureen’s grandson Bert (17); Maureen’s granddaughter Natalie (28); and Natalie’s daughters Betty (5) and Audrey (3).
Living in a structure behind the house is a fellow named Mark, along with his ex-wife Blair and their grown son Mark Jr.

I asked Bill about the danger of a fire–he said the back door is not so fortified. “And they can hop over the [back] fence.” He did not explain how his 87-year-old mother, with the fractured hip, would do this. (He also put a padlock on the side gate, exiting the back yard.)

Bill needs a visit from the local fire brigade who will explain to him the error of his thinking.

Locked deadlocks are deadly (duh). Even if there is a key left in the vicinity, what happens if the adults in the house are incapacitated in some way, and the kids have to fumble around trying to unlock it under emergency situations? Let alone only having one functioning exit from the house…

Who is this guy? :dubious: