2006 October 22 Sunday
People Do Not Lock Their Cars In Kilmarnock Virginia

A Washington Times piece about Wal-Mart coming to Kilmarnock Virginia says fairly predictable things about the reactions for and against a big chain coming to a small town. But this town of 1,244 two hours south of Washington DC strikes me as far more interesting for another rreason: People in the town do not need to lock their cars on main street - what a luxury!

In this town of 1,244 about two hours south of the Beltway, folks are used to walking in the unlocked back door of a neighbor's home, sometimes without knocking.


The lower Northern Neck was largely inaccessible, except by ferry or a long drive north, until the Robert O. Norris Bridge connected it to Route 3 and the mainland in 1957. It slowly has grown as Northern Virginians discover the area, but even today only a few stoplights dot the streets of Kilmarnock.

A drive down Main Street after 7 p.m. is quiet. Most shops close two hours earlier and there's no traffic, let alone congestion. The few streetlights are shaded downward to preserve the view of the stars at night.

Sunday mornings are spent at church. Antique galleries are the few businesses in Kilmarnock with Sunday hours.

Most of the cars parked along Main Street are unlocked and the keys sit on the front seat -- unless, of course, the owner is a "come here" who can't break the habit.

"You can tell who has moved here because they press the button when they get out of the car," Mr. Gulbranson says.

"We're a small community," says Joe Hudnall, president of the Noblett Inc. appliance store on Main Street and a resident since 1978. "You go out to eat or go to church and you know everybody there. I could walk down the street and know 19 out of 20 people by name."

I am surprised this is still possible anywhere in America. Can you point to other towns where crime is so rare that you do not have to lock your car or your house?

Think about this: Your rights are violated because you have to lock your car or lock your house. You are being forced to do something by criminals. Never mind that they are not there in front of you. Their willingness to violate your rights forces you do to things to defend yourself and your property. That fact of being forced is itself a violation of your rights.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 October 22 06:15 PM  Culture Compared

Kevin said at October 22, 2006 11:23 PM:

I imagine the good people of Kilmarnock must be furious at the Washington Times: "two hours south of the Beltway" isn't all that far of a road trip from DC, once you know that everybody you take up there with you is coming back with his own car.

However: I'm not all that convinced that locking your doors is much more than a symbolic act, anway, outside of apartment buildings. Not in cars with glass windows, and houses with mostly-glass sliding back doors, anyway. Leaving the keys in the car, on the other hand, is a rare privilege.

Rob said at October 23, 2006 6:17 AM:

We don't know much about this town. A shotgun by the bed and a dog are more effective than a lock.

TheOneWhoKnows said at October 23, 2006 1:36 PM:

"As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 1,244 people, 547 households, and 305 families residing in the town. The population density was 167.9/km˛ (435.6/mi˛). There were 607 housing units at an average density of 81.9/km˛ (212.6/mi˛). The racial makeup of the town was 79.74% White, 19.05% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.08% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.56% of the population."


Wow...it is almost 20% black and safe, that goes against the logic of this site. haha

Big Bill said at October 23, 2006 9:07 PM:

TheOneWhoKnows, that's the best you can do?

Hell, son, ANY smart black person wants to move to a safe white neighborhood.

And when they move there and the dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks brothers don't follow them there causing white folks leave, they tend to stay put and thank their lucky stars.

Why do you think they spent forty years fighting to integrate white folks towns and not stay in black neighborhoods and make them better?

Only an idiot says ALL black folks are stupid.

Bottom line, thats why you would never live in the ghetto, either.

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