Past events of theft and possibilities of incidents occurring in the future have taught both faculty members and students at Downey to be increasingly aware of their surroundings and even more protective of their valuables.It would appear that a student has more to learn from high school than what a teacher can teach them in the classroom, one of those lessons being whom to trust and to what extent that trust should reach. When attending a school containing more than 4,000 students, incidents such as theft are almost certain to occur, and every student must prepare for such an incident should it ever happen to them. "A lot of students do not practice common sense," said Downey Vice Principal Horacio Freijo. "They put a lot of faith in the general public. What I tell a lot of students is that nine times out of ten, this could have been avoided if you had just used common sense." It seems, however, that past incidents have indeed made an impact on Downey students. More teenagers are taking care to keep their valuables protected by carrying them around or leaving them in safe spots. However, keeping your valuables safe and hidden can be a difficult task with so many students and such a large school. "There's a lot that goes on at Downey High," said Gerard Gomez, student at Downey. "There's a lot that goes on in the locker room also. I can't trust to leave my bags around because there's always going to be people looking and trying to see what you have so that they can jack you after." Athletes find keeping their belongings safe even more difficult than the average teenager hanging out in the quad during lunch or snack. Many sports force athletes to put enough trust in an area to leave their belongings and valuables, placing them at a higher risk of being a victim from theft. Though coaches make extra attempts to ensure the safety of their athletes' belongings, thieves still find a way to make their presence known. Such incidents have affected various athletic teams, as well as their coaches. "I wouldn't exactly call it a flaw in security since security can't possibly be everywhere," said Amy Overgauuw, an English teacher and cross country coach. "However, I honestly feel like we're lucky it hasn't happened to [the cross country team] before. So, it doesn't surprise me, particularly. I think it's sad, but thieves have been stealing since there was money; since there has been something to steal. There have always been thieves, there have always been people who take things that don't belong to them, but I think in general there's a lack of people taking responsibility for themselves."
********** Published: October 30, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 28