No CrimeAs with many other schools, theft is and always will be an unavoidable element. In light of events that took place this term, I thought it sensible to write an article on the subject in which I will not only focus on it, but also how we as a school-community can work towards curbing theft as much as possible.

It seems like quite a few pupils have either had some personal belongings stolen at school or know of somebody who has. Sadly, this is an indication of the type of behavior that is tolerated by our student body. If we continue to remain silent when we know that somebody has committed an act of larceny, how can we expect this problem to cease?

The break in that occurred on the night of the One-Act Plays really opened my eyes to how easily things can happen. As usual curiosity got the better of me and I managed to interview some learners who were directly affected by this act of crime. I managed to get an insider’s perspective of what happened that night.  I learned that the MFC who were working at the tuck-shop that night –as is custom with events like this – had managed to raise a substantial amount of money that night. Some learners who were also working as back stage crew opted to leave their cell phones in the tuck-shop for safe keeping. Naturally they assumed that it would be safer there and who could blame them? After a successful evening of entertainment the learners came back to the tuck-shop to collect their belongings only to find out that the tuck-shop had already been locked (for security, obviously) and the educator who was in charge of the key had already left. Though there were teachers left, none of them had a spare key.

Feeling exhausted the learners realized that all they could do was to leave their cell phones in the tuck-shop until Monday came and then they would simply retrieve them.

Unfortunately, however, that very night the tuck-shop was broken into and all the money made by the MFC as well as the cell phones were stolen. Thankfully no other items were stolen or moved out of place.

While investigating, I managed to get quite a lot of insight on how the mind of a thief works. Through an interview and some research I have learned the majority of people who steal are opportunistic. They wouldn’t attempt to steal if the chance of getting caught was high or the object of their desire was hard to obtain. The minority, however, is more experienced in the art of theft and is more calculated in the execution of it. Those types of thieves have many different reasons for stealing. Some of them might have a low self-esteem. Some of them might steal due the constant forces of peer pressure. The most common reason is that learners need to steal so that they can sell the goods on the black market and then use the money to keep fueling their drug addictions or other vices.

The reality is that this is not an isolated event. There are a couple of cases of petty theft going on inside the walls of our school. So I ask, what is being done? This year the school has spent a large amount on the schools security itself. The school has also taken the initiative and has plans for an automated gate and security guard in the future. Sadly, with all this security in place, thieves will still always find a way. That is why it is important for each one of us to take ownership of our own safety. I have done some research on this and these are the steps that I propose.

  • If it’s out of sight then it’s out of mind. Try to keep your valuables hidden as much as possible or rather leave them at home.
  • Clearly and permanently label your personal item. If it’s clearly labeled as yours the thief might be hesitant to take it.
  • Decorate the items to make it unique and far more noticeable if it were to land in the hands of someone else.
  • Invest in a school locker with a proper lock to store some of your items.
  • Last but not least KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN and always be aware of your surroundings.

To continue improving our safety, the school can also implement some security cameras in designated safe zones where pupils can store their belongings.

Although these options are useful in combating theft it means nothing if learners are not willing to help, because theft is a reality and there is only one permanent solution. The solution does not lie with the administrators, teachers or parents. It cannot be fixed with the implementation of harsh new rules and regulations.  Simply, the solution lies with us.

Written By Nejat Hussein