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Theft is one of the world’s most prevalent vices. Theft reduces the quality of life both for the victim and the offender. It is, therefore, in the best interest of all if the theft cases are prevented. This paper investigates some of the measures and strategies that can be appropriated to prevent theft incidences. Analysis indicates that there are many strategies that can be implemented to prevent crimes of theft; the most effective ones are increasing awareness about theft incidences, installing security surveillance cameras and prescribing severe punishments against theft offenders.
Awareness about Theft Incidences
One of the most effective strategies that can be implemented to prevent incidences of theft is through enhancing the community’s awareness of theft cases. The first tactic is to improve the communication between the law enforcement agencies and the citizens. Communication between the law enforcement agencies and the citizens is vital in enhancing the rates of apprehension of the offenders. Another effective tactic is to conduct training, workshops and give lectures to the community members. Using these instruments, one can educate the community members on the various forms of theft crimes, the prevalence and ways of hedging against or minimizing the theft incidences and the grave repercussions of stealing other peoples’ property.A good instance is the case of R v Gomez AC 442, HL where a shop managerwas tricked by his assistant into accepting a stolen check. If the shop manager was conversant with the many manifestations of theft incidences, including dishonest appropriation, maybe he would have double-checked the authenticity of the check and halted the illegal transaction in time.Streamlining communication and other forms of interactions between the police and the citizens is vital in the promotion of community policing initiatives that are helpful in theft crime prevention.
Installing Surveillance Cameras
Installing security surveillance cameras at strategic points will enable the detection of a theft incidence and the identification of the culprits. Morgan et al. established that the installation of CCTV technology is one of the major factors that dissuade shoplifters and other petty theft offenders from committing the offense. After weighing the possibility of being caught coupled by the uncertainty of whether the security cameras are working or not and whether there is a person who is monitoring him in real time, most petty and average thieves end up relinquishing their endeavor to steal. To effectively prevent the crime, it is imperative that the surveillance camera system be complemented with other interventions such as human security agents. Pointing out its insufficiency, Morgan et al duly noted that, “Although CCTV may deter customers from shoplifting; employees are usually able to circumvent these security measures”. Therefore, if with blind spots or not adequately monitored the surveillance system will not be effective. Extra cameras should be installed in malls and other business buildings including in their parking lots and streets. Installing the security cameras at the personal property will also scare away prospective offenders. If the offenders realize that the system is foolproof and that each of their moves is being tracked, they will be dissuaded from taking the risk through stealing.
Prescribing Severe Punishment
Prescribing a severe punishment against the offenders will also be effective in preventing the commission of a theft offence through deterring the culprit and other like-minded individuals who reckon they can get away with such a crime. The maximum allowable sentences are usually prescribed to deter others through making an example out of the culprit. In that light, the petty offenders should be given huge penalties that are not commensurate to the crimes they have committed. Felony offenders, in turn, should be handed longer sentences that are punitive and retributive as opposed to being rehabilitative and restorative. Punitive and retributive sentences focus on conferring a sense of justice to the victim and deterring other persons who may be contemplating committing a similar crime.If the potential criminal finds out that he will pay several times the value or price of the property he could get from stealing he may not consent to taking the risks. Making the punishment severe will tilt the cost-benefit analysis in favor of abstinence, hence preventing theft crimes. It will also serve as a good example to deter other people who may have contemplated stealing.
In conclusion, it is evident that theft crimes are some of the most prevalent crimes in the world. Raising the community’s awareness levels about theft crimes, installing security cameras and prescribing harsh, severe punishments for committed theft crimes should be effective in preventing the commission of theft crimes as they increase the risks for the offender and reducing the benefits derived from the crime.