Locker Room Talk?

You’ve had enough election news. This is about stealing.

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Aaron Lambert

Lock it up!

Aaron Lambert, Staff Member

“If you like it, lock it.” That phrase is posted in various forms throughout the boys and girls locker rooms, but as with nearly every year, students are still having items stolen from the locker room.

Headphones, shoes, wallets and phones are all items that have vanished from the locker room this year, and the majority of them are never coming back to their original owners. Despite these instances and “rash of thefts in the locker rooms” that students hear about every year, thefts this school year are actually down.

“I would say it’s actually not a bigger issue this year,” Dean of Students Russ Stapleton said. “It’s a constant issue every year. I think (stealing from the locker rooms) is actually down.”

Stapleton believes that a smaller number of thefts are occurring at least in part because of new tactics the deans and security officers are implementing to keep personal belongings safe when unattended.

“Last year what we started doing was securing all unsecured items in the locker rooms,” Stapleton said. “We’d take all backpacks that aren’t secured and bring them down to our office and there could be a $5 fee to retrieve that stuff to give a poignant reminder that we believe it is an individual’s responsibility to protect their own belongings.”

There is also a program for students to get a free lock for their locker.

We purchased 75 MasterLock’s this year if any student would ever need to borrow a lock”

— Dean of Students Russell Stapleton

“We purchased 75 MasterLock’s this year if any student would ever need to borrow a lock,” Stapleton said. “They can come down and borrow one for as long as they need it. They can check it out, use it for as long as they need it, return it free of charge and if they don’t it’s just a fee that goes on their account to pay for it.”

Locker room sweeps and a program to get a free lock to secure valuable items in the locker rooms are some of the only ways that deans and security officers can help to prevent thefts. Because locker rooms are meant to act as a private space for students, it is difficult to do any sort of credible surveillance on students to try and catch a thief, as many people circulate through the locker rooms at any given point for PE classes and sports.

“We do our best to review the cameras,” Stapleton said. “What’s hard about the locker room is that there aren’t cameras inside and there are multiple exits so people can escape.”

Large items can sometimes be recovered if they appear on a security camera, but small and valuable items like wallets and headphones are difficult to spot.

While thefts are always a problem, Stapleton also finds himself pleasantly surprised by the character of the student body.

“What’s surprising is how much property gets returned,” Stapleton said. “A lot of people find things that don’t belong to them and they turn them in. There is also that side to the story where people do the right thing.”