Swiper, no swiping

By SpencerRoush

I stole something once. It was nothing big, but I did it.

I was a curious 4-year-old looking at a stick of pink, bubblegum-flavored lip balm I had to have. But instead of asking my mom to get me the $1.99 stick,

I plopped it into my pocket feeling quite content with what I had just done, even though stealing was definitely out of character.

The story doesn’t end with security officers tackling me or police slapping on handcuffs. It was anti-climatic. Half-way through the store, I forgot I had taken the bubblegum lip balm and didn’t feel any kind of rush while we were at the checkout counter or when we drove out of the parking lot.

It wasn’t until a week later when my mom, who was doing laundry, scolded me for leaving it in my pant’s pocket that I remembered I was a thief—albeit one who wore light-up shoes.

Even though I didn’t experience the rush, I still see how people get a thrill from stealing.

Theft happens all the time in large cities. It may be because of the adrenaline rush or because people want to sell the goods online later. Whatever the reason, it’s become a major problem, and the thieves only perfect their craft with each item they swipe.

It’s never been a secret that Columbia also has a theft problem. Leaving a purse or book bag unattended, merely for seconds, is asking for trouble. Having a bag stolen can be quite costly because of the expensive devices students carry on a daily basis.

To make it worse, the college is not responsible for lost or stolen items, saddling the victim with the replacement costs.

The 2nd floor at the 33 E. Congress Pkwy. Building was recently infiltrated when a laptop was stolen from a classroom and rumors circulated that the classroom door was accidentally left open.

The theft of laptops, book bags and other items as soon as the owner’s back is turned or a door is left open proves how stealthy these thieves are and how intently they wait for the perfect moment.

Columbia is an urban, high-rise campus, and it’s nearly impossible to keep out people who don’t belong. This is especially true for the 600 S. Michigan Ave. Building because the Museum of Contemporary Photography is attached to the building, leaving a lot of leeway for those who enter.

Without asking campus security to check IDs at building entrances, which would probably be seen as an annoyance, people will continue to come in who are not a part of Columbia. If IDs are checked to ensure outsiders stay out, who’s to say some of the thieves aren’t students?

Some of these thieves probably don’t look sketchy at all. They’re likely just carrying out a book bag or laptop case filled with someone else’s property. It’s not like they’re conspicuously carrying out large, flat screen TVs while asking the security guard to help them out the door.

Columbia needs to adopt new policies and install more security cameras. But until then, thefts will continue to occur, meaning bags and any possessions need to remain attached to their owners at all times or you may see your stolen laptop available for purchase online.