A Burglar’s Guide to the City

Does a house control your thought process? How does the structure of a city limit not only your movement, but the way you can think?

You can’t throw a brick without finding a discussion of the way social structures restrain and contain us – the ways that gender, sex, race, wealth, government, law, language or whatever affect our ability to move through the world. There’s a physical built world around us too, and it wields equal authority over our bodies.

We’re wading through a world designed to force our movement in certain ways. There’s obvious examples of this: the maze-like structures of shopping malls or casinos, twisting mirrored corridors obfuscating exits but always focusing your attention on something that needs spending on. Schools, banks, prisons and office buildings are built with an intended purpose, obviously, but how does simply walking through the front doors or even looking at one from the outside effect you, scare you, or inspire your productivity by limiting sunshiney access to a window? Why is the master bedroom upstairs, the storage in the basement, the bathroom so small? What, exactly, is the point of a closet?

A Burglar’s Guide to the City explores the architectural world around us by examining the movements of those that defy those structures and the “correct” way they’re supposed to be used. If we’ve managed to move beyond the social and moral boundaries of this world, burglars have defied the more literal functions of inside, outside, floor, ceiling, or path, hall, doorway – and maybe ‘human’.

“People cut into one room only to emerge from the one next door moments later—but they do so on all fours, using doors meant for animals, or they squirm through holes in the floor like worms, like serpents, as if shape-shifting back and forth between species, between minerals and plants, burrowing their way into buildings before disappearing again through the ceiling in ways that architects would never have imagined nor planned.”

This excerpt features many stories of burglars and criminals who messed up and got caught (or betrayed, in the case of George Leonidas Leslie – who was responsible for 80 percent of bank robberies in the entire country during his peak). If a burglary is successful, chances are the normie journalist who wrote this book didn’t hear about it (one major exception being the Hole in the Ground Gang). Maybe the best outlaws don’t make the history books… at all?