West Crime Rate Drops

Posters admonishing students to lock up their belongings or put them at risk of being stolen are prevalent throughout Wauwatosa West, with the majority being located in, or near, gym hallways and locker rooms. Surprisingly, out of the 16 thefts this year, 12 occurred in the locker rooms because items were left in un­locked lockers or laying around out­side, despite signs telling students to keep track of their possessions.

Crime is a problem at Wauwatosa West. Though theft is not the only form of crime at West, there have been more instances of theft in the past five school years, with the excep­tion of the 2006-07 and 2009-10 school years, than any other form of crime. 2006 brought only 21 thefts, the low­est in these past five years, and 61 disorderly conduct violations, the highest. Disorderly conduct includes physical fighting. School Resource Officer Doug Brown recalls the 2010 incidence in which a fight broke out during an all school assembly; those involved would not heed orders from school staff to break up the fight. Such instances may result in a $114 fine, which must be paid through Munici­pal Court, and other consequences such as suspension from the school.

When a theft is reported to the school Resource Officer Doug Braun or any administrator, they first figure out if there are any suspects, then question anyone who was around at the time of the theft and initiate a locker search. Officer Braun himself cannot initiate a locker search; he must ask an administrator such as Mr. Thusius to initiate it. “Last year we had 19 iPods stolen” said Braun. Data shows that iPods are one of the most commonly stolen items. If the theft of one is reported, he also asks for a serial number and the iPod’s color. Should a person not have any suspects and not remember when or where their object was stolen, Of­ficer Braun says there is not much he can do. “ I feel bad for them, but there’s really not much I can do…If there’s no suspects or if they have no idea who did it, I give them this sheet and tell them to fill it out well and to write all the details down.” The sheet is called a Theft/Vandal­ism Report. It includes an area for location of the crime, the time, and what kind of crime it is. It also in­cludes an area for a detailed descrip­tion of property taken or damaged and the description of the incident.

Unfortunately, students do not always report thefts. Senior Jessy Frenn had her iPod stolen her sopho­more year and at the time had no proof that her suspects had stolen it. After going to the office to report the theft, she was told it was unlikely she would get her iPod back and that if she really wanted to, she could fill out the Theft/Vandalism Report, but also it was “a lot of work” to fill it out for something she was not likely to get back. Upon hearing this, Frenn de­cided not to try and get her item back.

Fortunately, new initiatives such as PBIS and “The Trojan Way,” de­signed to motivate the student body to do good things, seem to be hav­ing an effect on students. So far this year, there have been only 39 crimes reported. This is an improvement over last year’s 150 crimes reported, though there are still seven months until the school year’s end. Hope­fully, administration, staff, and stu­dents, will continue to try to make Wauwatosa West a better place.