One skill that appears all too common in Oakland these days is the ability to pick a lock. Burglaries jumped more than 40 percent last year, and not all of them involved window smashes.

So it came as quite a surprise to residents that Mayor Jean Quan's most recent newsletter included a plug for a class on how to pick locks.

The class is geared toward people who misplace their keys, but that didn't keep Quan's write-up about it from going over about as well with readers as a ransacked living room.

Quan was panned by members of an Upper Dimond neighborhood chat group.

"This is awful," one person wrote. "How could she possible do that in this climate? What's next? The fundamentals of armed robbery?"