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Chelsea Residents Blame Old Doorknobs For Spike In Break-Ins

Police Advise People In Neighborhood To Ask Supers, Owner For New Ones
People in Chelsea are worried old doorknobs are helping crooks break into their buildings (credit: CBS 2)

People in Chelsea are worried old doorknobs are helping crooks break into their buildings (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Locking the front door may not be good enough.

It appears if your apartment has a weak or old doorknob, you could be an easy target for a new breed of burglars.

The NYPD is already seeing a spike in cases, especially in one upscale New York City neighborhood.

They look ornate and old-fashioned, but dainty doorknobs could be contributing to an increase in crime in Chelsea.

Burglaries in the area are up 41 percent this year. Police said the recent rash is due in large part to thieves snapping off or breaking through old doorknobs.

“I moved here six weeks ago, so that’s kind of terrifying…because I thought it was a safe area,” Mike Murphy told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider on Friday.

“You don’t even have to be a burglar, you just have to push the door open, that’s how easy it is,” Jose Rivera added.

People at a building on West 21st Street said break-ins happen regularly. They blamed the old door handles.

Schneider: “You’ve asked the owner to fix it and he hasn’t?”

Chelsea resident Edan Banegas: “No, we’ve asked many times and he doesn’t want to fix it.”

Schneider: “Do you feel secure living here?”

Banegas: “No.”

“We want a new door!” resident Mercedes Amores added.

Police are advising people in Chelsea to ask their supers or building owners to put in new doorknobs.

“Given the rents in the area, I think that’s a fair request,” Murphy said.

But it seems to be the last thing the people who maintain these buildings are worried about.

“I moved in right when they renovated the building, and from what I can tell, they never changed the door at all,” Sarah Knowles said.

It’s a concern for many who are now looking for other ways to protect themselves.

“That’s the best thing you can always do, is lock your doors and make sure it’s always shut behind you,” Knowles said.

Chelsea has also seen a slight rise in the number of felony assaults this year, officials said.

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