The Way I See It

A Nevispages weekly feature by Curtis Morton Sr

The way I see it, STEALING IS WRONG and that’s putting it mildly.In our local parlance, I think I can say with some more emphasis: ‘Thou shalt not TIEF!

It was recently drawn to my attention that a Chinese supermarket in St. Kitts, has adopted a strategy of naming and shaming, would be thieves.

The supermarket which is located directly opposite to the Robert Llewelyn Bradshaw Social Security Building, is in a habit of posting the pictures of persons caught shoplifting, on their front glass and such persons have to pose with the item/s that they attempted to steal.  They apparently also have to pay some kind of a fine as well.

In others words, they are immediately added to the hall of fame—I mean SHAME.

Well I newa!

In doing my research, I discovered that this is a policy already in place in Shanghai.

Check this out:
“Some retailers have begun printing images of suspected shoplifters and posting them online or on a public noticeboard.
Supermarket manager Luke Webster believes the practice is crucial in keeping shoplifters accountable.
“When we tried to catch shoplifters and get them banned and police said we’d have to have their name, and we asked, ‘How do we get their name?’ and police said, ‘Ask them’,” Mr. Webster said.
“When we catch them they’re not going to give their name … and the only way we could come up with was to stick their picture up on the wall and ask people do you know them?” he said.
But lawyers believe the practice could expose retailers to a defamation claim.
“They run the risk of defaming persons they put on the wall, because if they’ve not been convicted of any offence then they can hardly be portrayed as a thief,” said solicitor Tim Abbott.
“The courts won’t find you guilty of theft unless it was a premeditated or intentional act,” he said.
“There has to be a certain amount of intention involved, and there may be people who’ve got mental health or other issues that mean they may not have intended to take the article and put it in a bag.
But Mr. Webster is confident the system works.
“No-one’s followed through when they said they were going to sue us … we don’t put them up unless we’re confident,” Mr. Webster said.
And in many cases, those exposed by the photos apologize and return the item or pay for it.
The summer was the low season for theft compared with winter when shoplifters could hide items in coats and wraps. But he said it was not so often a small instinctive crime these days. “Today more and more thefts are being carried out by organized groups and not individuals.”
While the public were responsible for 46 percent of the thefts, staff were blamed for the rest of the thefts, especially cases where staff members colluded with members of the public to steal, which is an increasing trend.
In July 2011 the store manager found several cases of items missing which at first he attributed to a miscount. But at the end of December the manager found some 10,000 yuan worth of goods were missing. This was reported to the police but an investigation revealed nothing out of the ordinary after the security video tapes were checked.

But while the police were investigating, a staff member suddenly left work. He was regarded as one of the hardest-working employees at the store and he walked out without giving a good reason. This attracted the attention of the police who tracked him down and interviewed him.

He confessed that he was responsible for the missing goods. He had taken advantage of his position as supervisor of the frozen food counter and used to go to work earlier than anyone else when he could hide items in his locker unobserved. He would stay late and when all the other staff had left he would take the stolen items out of his locker and take them home.

The Nanjing newspaper the Yangtze Evening News reported last year that the Auchan supermarket in Nanjing had begun posting photographs of shoplifters on its office wall beside the supermarket where the public could easily view them. The rate of shoplifting declined sharply and the move won support from a number of people.

But Professor Han Yugeng from the Law School of Nanjing Normal University came out against this technique.

“If the thieves sued the supermarket for defamation, the supermarket would lose. The real problem for supermarkets is that they have no support in law so they have to find other ways of fighting crime when it recurs time and time again.””

Like it or not, the bottom line is that people should learn to stop tek up what don’t belong to them—without permission.

I once heard of a former supermarket owner in Nevis, who used an even more drastic strategy:

He watched a lady on camera, place some cheese in her bosom and when she came to pay for a few items, he asked: “So what about the cheese in your brazier?’

The stunned woman at first denied it and then proceeded to plead for mercy.

The owner told her that she would have to pay $1,000.00 or he would call the Police.

Not wanting it to be publicized that she went to prison for stealing cheese, she called someone, who immediately paid the fine on her behalf.

I think that the owner’s actions were a bit gross, but again, bottom line: LEF DI PEOPLE SINTING!

God in his word, admonishes that we should not steal and no rational nor irrational explanation can make stealing right.

Let us try by God’s grace to leave the things that do not belong to us and if you want it badly enough and can’t afford it—then BEG.

I am yet to hear that anyone got locked up for begging as yet.

That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?

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