Earlier this semester there was a continuous crime unfolding on campus where lunchboxes, drinks, and even utensils have gone missing under mysterious circumstances. Students would put their lunchboxes into the refrigerators at JU’s lunchrooms, and when they would come back to get their food it would be gone or individual pieces of their food would be missing!
Multiple students told EDIT that they lost their whole lunchbox, another lost her sandwich, and one lost her utensils only, while multiple students reported that only the vegetables were left in their lunchbox, while everything else was gone. One student found her lasagna leftovers after the thief had been eating out of her lunchbox and put them back in another fridge afterward.
Students from every school have been reporting to EDIT that they are affected by the lunchbox thief, confirming our suspicions that lunches are getting stolen at every school in JU. EDIT decided to interview Johanna Andersson, lokal- och säkerhetssamordnare (premises and security co-ordinator) at JU about the issue.
What do you know about the situation with lunchboxes being stolen?
– Lunchboxes disappearing from the common student kitchen fridges is something that unfortunately happens a little from time to time. Most often it is about someone taking the wrong box by mistake or a student simply taking another student’s food. So far, it has been about single events. But it is not an entirely new phenomenon. There are indications that others, i.e. not students or staff, who had access to most of the open environments at the schools may have usurped food by taking food boxes in the student kitchen. Some observations have been made, but we still cannot definitively confirm that this would be the only reason why several lunch boxes disappeared. JU is and wants to be an open and welcoming university and we then have to find solutions to the problems that can arise when people have access to and move around in our premises.
How long has JU known about this?
– There has been a significant increase this semester. I became aware of it around the middle of the semester when a student association and the school’s Operation Manager (administrative manager) contacted me.
What measures have you taken at the moment?
– At present, it is about making it difficult for unauthorized persons to access the lunch rooms, as much as possible. We have reviewed and adjusted the door environment and access.
In an earlier article, EDIT interviewed the President of LOK about this issue of which she said that due to the stolen lunchboxes, they have decided to lock the doors leading to the lunchroom at HLK so that only people with a valid JU-card can get through to the lunchroom. Even posters have been put up about not taking other student’s lunchboxes.
– So far, preventive measures have been taken to limit the access of the lunchrooms, such as locking the doors at HLK. The president at LOK mentioned in a previous article that these measures have been successful. There have not been any other reports of stolen lunchboxes recently, which confirms the measures of locking the doors as successful. Students at HLK also told EDIT that they have not gotten their lunch stolen after the doors got locked!
Have you noticed any difference after the measures?
– Yes, according to a student association, the measures have improved the situation, so hopefully we have aimed right! Although these measures seem to be successful, some students are still critical of the solution. EDIT interviewed students after the doors to the lunchrooms got locked, of which they said;
“I don’t think it will work that well if the thief is determined to steal the lunchboxes. It is still easy to walk upstairs in the building, then walk downstairs by the stairs past the lunchroom to reach the refrigerators since the doors upstairs are not locked.” EDIT decided to ask Andersson what would happen if these measures did not work.
If these measures do not work, is there another plan on how you can reduce the thefts?
– There is no structured way to follow how the measures in this case will end up. However we have received feedback from the student association that they feel that the measure made a difference. At the moment, there is no definite plan for the next step, but we want to see how the outcome will be from the measures taken.
Since a lot of students have gotten their lunchboxes stolen during the semester they do not feel safe with bringing their food in fear of it getting stolen. Hopefully, the situation has calmed down and students can start feeling safe of not having their food stolen. Students already have it difficult financially and it is frustrating to see people still taking advantage of hardworking students, on dozens of occasions during a short period of time.
Some believe it could be because of the increasing food prices, although this does not justify stealing and eating out of students’ lunchboxes. Hopefully, this does not happen again and the thief is now gone from campus premises. It is time to enjoy our well-deserved lasagna which we have been waiting for forever!
Writer: Emma Rodén