Increasing thefts leave students questioning moral conscience

Jamm Magaling ‘22

Since 2014, Proposition 47 has classified minor thefts as misdemeanors, rather than potential felonies, prompting an increase in theft throughout California. 

Although the Covid pandemic saw a decrease in such crimes, rates have gradually risen compared to years prior, leaving students and faculty of Archbishop Riordan High School pondering on the abrupt surge. 

From larceny to burglaries, statistics reveal a sharp increase in theft just throughout San Francisco. Joshua Bote, assistant news editor for SFGATE, recently broke down the numbers, exhibiting a 21 percent increase in larceny, 40 percent increase in burglaries, and even a 39 percent increase of “theft from vehicle.”

Seemingly, citizens have become numb to the fact, as theft in general is one of the most underreported crimes in the city, “especially among business owners who say that it is not worth reporting them to police,” described Bote. 

As Riordan is a Catholic Marianist institution, curriculum here is taught in the context of service, justice, peace, and the integrity of creation, so current events like this are tackled in the religious studies classes. 

Matthew Mendoza ’22, member of Campus Ministry, believes that “there is no absolute right or absolute wrong. It’s all relative.” 

From a Marianist standpoint, Mendoza understands the immorality of theft, but he also empathizes with those affected by the pandemic, elucidating how people have their own reasons. 

 Deacon Joseph LeBlanc ’78, instructor of ethics and social justice, believes “it has to do with two things: not taking personal responsibility for what you do and what you don’t do.”

LeBlanc goes on to explain the ethical wrongs, contrasting his ideas by stating how one can never know someone’s personal situation. It is all about taking responsibility–accountability.