Why Do People Steal?

By Chechi Amah ’21

Since the beginning of time, people have taken things that do not belong to them — whether it be territory, ideas, or cultures. But one question still remains unanswered and puzzles people to this very day: Why do people take things that essentially do not belong to them?

Let’s start by digging deeper into the human psyche. People are always searching for something more to have despite already having the basic necessities. It is in our human nature to chase after things desired, but is theft a part of that road to success?

That need to quench our thirst for dominance has been exemplified time and time again in our history books that tell of lands claimed and reclaimed by those who are foaming at the mouth at the thought of power. So does power manifest from taking it away from someone else?

Let’s look at it from a smaller scale. Imagine walking down the hallway after school, and suddenly, a nice jacket catches your eye. You can see that it is of value, and your interest suddenly becomes piqued. You decide that despite this jacket not being your size or style, that you should take it home anyway. What will you do with it then? Well, you are not entirely focused on that part. All you have in mind is taking something of value that you could somehow benefit from, monetarily or otherwise.  

The thieves of items so near and dear to our heart are not obvious. In fact, the spotlight is almost  nonexistent. The people that partake in these activities can be friends, family members, or others that we respect. In a society that looks down on crime and yet shows so much pride in the success of people, it is easy to see why someone would want to put on a facade, one that shows wealth and success, specifically in the things that we buy.

Nonetheless, the popularity of stealing  does have to do with how our society is established. If you don’t have this and that, it is nearly impossible to seem successful to others. As much as we say that it does not matter, it really does because as humans we also naturally crave the approval of others.

Though we cannot control our natural instincts, we should try hard to concentrate on what they mean and what they tell us about the underlying issues in our lives. Doing so will eventually bring to light for you the reasons for many injustices in this world. With that understanding you will see that theft is a mere side effect and reveals the root of a greater issue.

Image via Benny Lewis

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