Want to avoid theft? Lock your unlockers

“For those of you who read last week’s Zipmail, you may have noticed the reminder to lock your locker at the Rec Center. Ten thefts were reported there in March, with another reported Monday. Theft is often considered the single most common crime on campus.”

For those of you who read last week’s Zipmail, you may have noticed the reminder to lock your locker at the Rec Center.

Ten thefts were reported there in March, with another reported Monday.

Theft is often considered the single most common crime on campus. That’s probably the case here.

Let’s not forget that theft is usually a crime of opportunity. If no one’s around, and there’s an unguarded cell phone, iPod and money – all for the taking – do you think that looks like an opportunity to someone? It sounds like a safe bet.

The message noted, however, that in every case, the lockers were unsecured. It was in bold, so I know someone was trying to make a point.

Of course, I read way too much into it, as I am prone to do. My interpretation: If you were robbed because you didn’t lock your locker, you’re an idiot.

OK, so that’s probably not what the message meant. But it sure reads a lot funnier with that inference.

This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s apartment is robbed. He has a top-of-the-line deadbolt; unfortunately, Kramer failed to close the door. Jerry then explained how the deadbolt worked.

It has only one design flaw. The door … must be closed!

That’s pretty much the case with the lockers at the Rec Center. They’re fine lockers. They only present one problem when it comes to protecting your valuables: They … must be locked!

Perhaps the word locker is the root of the problem. After all, it has the word lock right in it. That could lull one into a false sense of security, I guess.

For the sake of security, maybe we should call lockers unlockers. That should clear up any confusion.

So why do people put stuff in a locker and not lock it? University of Akron Police Chief Paul Callahan thinks there’s a simple reason behind it.

People by nature are trusting and that is a good thing, he said. Thieves take advantage of us trusting souls, and we pay the price for thinking that our things will be secure because we don’t want to believe that someone would do such a thing.

You heard right. The police chief is saying, Don’t trust anyone.

Wait, maybe not.

Being paranoid is not a great alternative either, but somewhere in the middle will help ensure that we don’t become victims, he said.

The Rec Center and UAPD are working together to prevent further incidents.

Wait. How the hell?

Isn’t this clearly an operator error? People put their belongings in lockers, and walk away, thinking they will be safe. Shouldn’t the victims have been more responsible?

Luckily, the Rec Center staff is not as cynical as I am. According to the interim co-director of the Rec, Charles Kunsman, Rec Center employees advise people to lock up their belongings whenever they have the opportunity.

While the Zipmail message asked that anyone who observes suspicious activity in a locker room report it to a staff member, they have yet to be tipped off. They also periodically walk through the locker rooms to keep an eye on things.

And now, the staff is going the extra mile for you. They are placing stickers on every locker to remind you to lock your locker. Wow.

It’s not as though the Rec Center wasn’t already putting forth an effort. The facility sells locks at the bargain price of $5.85. If you don’t want to make that kind of investment, you can use the coin-operated lockers that are located in the locker room, outside the locker room and by the check-in desk at the ONAT.

I assume that it has now been established that a locker does not protect your valuables until you physically place a lock on it. Of course, you also have to lock the lock on the locker.

The most common piece of advice for safeguarding your valuables is to lock them up. That means lock your door, lock your car and, yes, lock your locker.

But will all these locks keep people honest?

Maybe not, but it’ll keep you from having to replace your cell phone.