Shorewood High School’s theft problems have decreased significantly over the past few years because of increased use of security footage, greater attention to the problem by administration and students being more careful with their belongings.
Assistant Principal Joe Patek, detailed the previous theft issues.“It’s been pretty widespread,” Patek said. “Electronics are really a hot item…really anything that’s not secured.”
Drew Rekuski, school resource officer, is a new addition to SHS staff, filling the position after it was vacated two years ago.
He investigates crime on campus as well as any complaints of harassment. This year he is collaborating with Patek and other administrators to combat the issue. Rekuski believes lockers are a key part of the situation. “Number one, you need to use your lockers and use them effectively…which means lock them,” Rekuski said.
David Deshpande, sophomore, also thinks students should take more precautions when securing their belongings. “People don’t lock their lockers … their stuff can get thrown out,” Deshpande said.
Patek said that in past years not every theft report was looked into. Last year and this year he has worked with all of the administration to follow through with every report. “When we get a report we take it seriously … why it happened, how it happened,” Patek said.
Rekuski says in order to begin the investigation, first students must report it. “Report it immediately then let us start an investigation … The more information, the better,” Rekuski said.
Deshpande had items taken from the gym locker room earlier this year. “I reported it to Mr. Patek and Mr. Peterson … Mr. Patek checked the security cameras,” said Deshpande. His items were unable to be recovered, but the incident occurred while another team was using SHS fields. They were not supposed to be in the locker room but were likely let in by another team already in the locker room.
The securing of all unused school lockers has made a difference in thefts on campus, according to Patek. “Securing lockers helps with preventing theft … any less place there is to stash something,” Patek said.
Patek says the administration needs to keep doing what they have been to respond and prevent thefts. He would like to focus on using tools such as more security cameras to further prevent issues.
“It’s a change in attitude if theft occurs … why not use the tools we have,” Patek said. Rekuski agrees. “We have the ability to have some pretty high tech cameras,” Rekuski said.
Patek thinks the school can continue to stay at this low theft level, but only if students are mindful of their belongings. “It sounds completely benign…but make sure your locker’s locked, your bike is locked, you don’t leave your phone on the table,” Patek said. The amount of theft has begun to increase, but remains low.
by Maya Schneider