School Theft: an escalating issue; yet an avoidable one

Connor Relyea, Editor-in-Chief

               The past few weeks at Joliet West High School, administrators and students have been seeing a rise in school theft, mainly from areas in the school like the Boys and Girls locker rooms.

                Although the administration has no exact data to give, there has been an increase in school theft in these past few weeks alone. According to Dean Laken, on average he receives one report a day even though these reports do not happen every single day. Over the past few years theft has increased at the school. A lot of the thefts go unsolved due to the lack of witnesses that actually see the theft. Much of the evidence is hear-say and can’t always be reliable, however the cameras do take a prominent role in solving many of the theft cases.

                The school has over 156 cameras that are all functional. The school uses a program called D.S. Control Point which uses 5 main DVRs where all the camera angles fall under certain categories to locate the potential problems. The cameras can show more than one angle at one time. These cameras around the school help to solve the theft problems and are a main source of information to the deans when trying to investigate theft. However, the cameras do have a drawback. The angles of the cameras are all fixed and sometimes the angle’s of the camera does not show the vicinity of the situation.

                The theft that has been happening at the school has been occurring in “unstructured areas” where there is a lot of movement, and not much supervision of the class. These areas include the locker rooms for both the boys and the girls. Much of the theft that occurs in the locker rooms can’t be solved due to the fact that there are no cameras in the locker rooms and there are no witnesses to the theft. On a closer examination of the locker room it comes as no surprise that theft is occurring. Bags and valuables are left outside of lockers laying on the floors or benches. Lockers themselves are left unlocked, ready for any school thief to open it and take whatever is inside.

                Theft in other areas of the school, such as the classrooms and the actual lockers, has not increased. However there have been cases in the past where people have walked by an open locker and taken valuables out of the top while the owner of the locker wasn’t looking. In these cases, the cameras are used to investigate the problem. According to Dean Laken, iPods and phones are among the highest in what is stolen.

                Deans encourage students that if they have anything of value, it should be left at home to minimize the risk of theft. If a student leaves their valuable belongings at home the chances of those valuables being stolen are far less. Students are also encouraged to be conscious of their valuables and should be aware that by bringing them into “unstructured areas” such as the locker rooms they run a higher risk of their items being stolen. Finally, students should do their best within their power to not misplace possessions or report false thefts.