We can all help prevent theft

By By Liz Carlston

By Liz Carlston

It’s a little unnerving that you have to leave your backpack alone while you shop at the University Campus Store. The intent is to prevent theft in the store so people don’t sneak out with a MacBook or a $500 textbook in their bag. If these items were routinely stolen, the cost of goods stolen would be absorbed by students in the form of higher prices.

For a bookstore shopper, it’s unnerving because you can’t see your bag and have no control if someone decides to walk off with your stuff. In essence, you’re trading levels of risk with the bookstore. Unfortunately, the no-backpack policy creates negative externalities, as unattended bags are often stolen.

During the course of an average school year, about 30 backpacks are reported stolen from the cubbies that line the entrances to the campus store. Sure, the campus bookstore has up-to-date security measures, such as plain-clothed guards and 64 strategically placed cameras, but that doesn’t seem to prevent backpack theft. In fact, the store’s security guards often don’t guard the backpack cubbies because it is impossible to tell whether people are stealing or just taking their own backpack. The surefire option is not to stop shopping at the store, but rather to leave your bag in one of the lockers8212;the bookstore will even give you a free quarter to use it.

Theft or burglary on college campuses is nothing new. In fact, it’s the highest crime statistic for all institutes of higher learning in the state. According to the Department of Education, burglary far outpaces reports of murder, rape, motor vehicle theft, assault and arson. In fact, burglary represents 77 percent of on-campus crimes in the state.

Maybe the U should play a card used by the school down south and implement an honor code policy so 30 backpacks aren’t stolen each year.

The U Police Department said transients are increasingly responsible for crimes committed on campus because TRAX gives downtown drifters greater access to the university. Regardless, we can all do a better job of keeping our eyes open to potential crimes and not be personally responsible.

Theft is a matter of integrity, which some argue represents everything you can ever offer to the world. Will you tell the truth, will people be able to count on you, will you be able to count on yourself? Integrity is a decision.

Stealing property from another person is a cheap violation of integrity and a cowardly act. Even though it isn’t practical to expect zero violations each year, the U can do better than 30 stolen backpacks. It is everyone’s responsibility to be aware of the issue and try to stop theft from happening.

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