People think they can spot a thief
I have heard people say that because someone is worried about theft that person must be a thief. It is believed that orientation toward safety indicates theft is on a person’s mind. Ergo, they steal.
People who worry about theft have had experience with it, either directly or by proxy, by which I mean they watch from the sidelines as the “boosters” shoplift then sell their items to the gamblers who play cards in large, ethnically homogenous, outdoor groups. But knowing about theft does not a thief make. People become concerned about theft in three other ways:
- They are generally well informed.
- They have been victims of theft.
- They have been falsely accused.
I know about being falsely accused There are too many stores here in Honolulu where people the professional thieves call “floor walkers,” follow me around. It is creepy and infuriating to watch people watching me for no discernible reason. I guess they are racial profiling. I do not steal. But it is my understanding that people believe that if you look like me, you will steal. That is how theft comes to my attention when I would not have thought about it otherwise. I get so frustrated with that helpless feeling that comes with the knowledge that people have the wrong idea and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, I can do about it. I will be honest, people judge me as someone from the streets and I feel like yelling, “I went to Harvard!” But then what would I follow that with–I could have been successful! I might still be successful! I am not a thief. I was a hooker. People gave me money. I never had to take it, and they never wanted it back.” All true. But the truth does not prove another truth. How is that for frustrating? Breaking the law in a particularly unacceptable way does nothing for my credibility. But if you think about it, I have a point when I say I never stole. Don’t I?
Please do not jump to conclusions. Assumptions can be hurtful. Traumatic, truth be told. More importantly for the person seeking to apply knowledge, assumptions leave you vulnerable to the real risks. I am not a threat, to your stuff or anything else.