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Is it Right to Steal for Survival?

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“ Any person who steals anything capable of being stolen is guilty of a crime, and is liable, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for 5 years” (Queensland, 2011, p. 1). This is the Criminal Code 1899- Section 398. According to this section even if a person steals for survival it is still stealing and they will be punished just like any other criminal that does a criminal act.

There are different reasons why people steal, according to Wendy Brooks. She stated, “Some people steal for them and their family to survive”(Brooks, 2011, p. 1). Another reason a person might steal is because they are addicted to stealing, live for the thrill, or they cannot control themselves from stealing. The last reason a person would steal is because they see the merchandise as free for them and they do not have to pay for the item. This paper is going to look at these three ways to cover up the “Gray areas” of stealing.

If you were out of a job and did everything you possibly could to get a job but nothing ever worked out and had no income for you and your family would you steal items to survive on? Many people are faced with this decision everyday. It may be easy for you to say yes I would steal if it meant my family could make it another night or you might say no I would not steal because it is wrong and I would rather go get help. Most people who are faced with this decision do steal. The reason why I think that most people turn to stealing instead of getting help is because our society today has shaped us to be independent and if someone goes and asks for help they feel like their independency has gone down. Whether we want to face it or not stealing is stealing and you will be punished if you are caught. A person in this category might not be tried as harsh as the other people in this paper, but remember they had the chance to ask for help.

There are people in this world that are addicted to stealing. Whether it is for the thrill they get, they might be depressed, to help them get their drugs, or for any other reason that they cannot control themselves from stealing. Some of these people steal just so they can get caught; they live off of attention from others. People say that everyone can control himself or herself from doing something that is wrong. That is not always true; this is where peer pressure comes in. The people in this category also need to get help from stealing and need to be getting help for the reason why they are stealing. Just because people steal for either survival or because they cannot control themselves from stealing does not mean they are bad people. Our society today makes us think that people who commit a crime makes them a bad person, well it does not. Only if they fall in the two categories above it does not make them a bad person, it does give them the label as a criminal though.

Are you out of money for the month and you see that your favorite store is having a sale and you really want that must have outfit of the season, would you steal the outfit knowing the consequences that will happen if you are caught? If your answer is yes then you are considered a criminal and will have that label attached to your name forever even if you are caught or not. So lets think about this. Is it really worth stealing that outfit and maybe getting jail time for it? It can ruin your life. Believe it or not many people steal all different kinds of merchandise everyday. They will steal because they see the merchandise is free or they cannot afford it. Even if the thief does not get caught it is still hurting the customers that shop at that store. The store is losing money every time a person steals from them, and the customers are the ones who have to pay for it.

The main counseling service and the most popular rehab center is “Theft Talk”. Steven Houseworth is the founder of Theft Talk and according to him (2010) “thieves think differently from other people” (p. 1). The clients who go to Theft Talk are punished in the form of restrictions and community service. They help the client’s place of work and or family problems with the situation that is going on. They are required to be on probation with weekly check ins. While they are there they go over the laws of stealing why they do it, what are their goals, and how they can accomplish them.

Stealing is stealing no matter what the reason is. Punishment is based on why a person steals, what they stole, and if it was their first offence or not. You can also get fined for these reasons as well. The lowest punishment a person can receive beside not getting caught is telling the store owner sorry and doing community service or paying a small fine. The highest punishment a thief can receive is 14 years imprisonment with a fine over 5,000 dollars. Do you remember that situation you can be in with either stealing the outfit or just waiting until you have the money to pay for it. That one outfit can cost you 5,000 dollars, jail time, and the label attached to your name. Think before you act.

In conclusion this paper has covered what I think the “Gray areas” are in stealing. Stealing is wrong no matter what the reason is for why the person decided to steal. Remember there are places that can help a person to stop stealing. If you ever get the urge to steal just think about what the consequences are. Try not to be peer pressured by anyone. If you don’t want your parents knowing that you have stolen something then do not do it. You will get caught and they will find out. Stealing can and will ruin your life.

Work Cited

Brooks, Wendy (2011). Reasons why some people steal. Retrieved from http://www.helium.com Hayes Laurie (2010, November 7). Like stealing candy from a baby. Retrieved from http://www.thefttalk.com/counseltoday.htm Queensland Consolidated Acts (2011, January 18). Criminal code 1899- sect 398: 398 punishment of stealing. Retrieved from http://www.austlii.edu

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