A Burglar’s Guide to the City
Burglary requires architecture—without buildings, burglars themselves cannot exist. It is an explicitly spatial crime.
Burglary also has a very peculiar relationship with the built environment, engaging with structures not for their aesthetics or their historical references, but for the tactical value of a handhold, a shadow’s opportunity for stealth, and the potential for illicit entrance posed by rooftops and maintenance corridors.
Geoff Manaugh, author of the new book A Burglar’s Guide to the City, explored more than two thousand years’ worth of heists and break-ins, from the streets of ancient Rome to panic rooms in the 21st century. During the talk, Manaugh discussed several aspects ranging from the surprisingly complicated legal definition of what constitutes an interior space to the everyday tools burglars use to gain entry.
Written after more than three years of research, Manaugh’s Burglar’s Guide includes flights with the LAPD Air Support Division, an introduction to the subculture of recreational lock-picking, a still-unsolved bank tunnel heist in 1980s Los Angeles, and much more.
Video shot and edited by Matthew Goetz of Lucid Creative Agency.