More needs to be done about massive amounts of theft

I often wonder what makes people think they can steal things. Is it a sense of entitlement? Do they think to themselves "I can't afford this, but I think I should have it anyway" ?

I've met people throughout my life that think stealing is ok, as long as it doesn't really hurt anyone. I've also heard some of them say that they know it's wrong, but they'll never get caught so they're going to keep doing it.

And this is part of the problem with the growing amount of theft. It's that people do a little equation in their head... something along the lines of :

"Chance of getting in trouble for this= ridiculously small"

"Penalty if I did get caught= would just be a warning"

"Pleasure I would get from stealing this item= pretty high"

So they steal it. Why wouldn't they?

Maybe their parents didn't teach them that stealing is wrong, regardless of the benefits. Maybe they see all their peers doing it so they feel somewhat justified.

What annoys me the most when I see this growing theft is that it's not people stealing bread so they can eat. That kind of theft, while still wrong, is certainly understandable. No, this is people stealing items that are far from essentials. This makes me confused and sad.

I've heard first hand from people who regularly steal these items justify it by saying they're only stealing from large businesses, "so they can afford it." They're basically saying they know they're stealing, they know it's wrong, but that company is rich so it deserves to have things stolen from it.

This argument is so ridiculous. A business is just made up of lots of regular people like you and me. Sure, there's sometimes a few wealthy executives at the top. But the owners of the company are more often than not anyone who has superannuation. When you steal from these "large companies" you're stealing from grandmothers, mums, dads, teenagers on minimum wage, and heaps of other hard working people who get their living from the sale of those things you think you deserve to get for free.

Sadly, most of these thefts go unreported too. Many of us know people who steal regularly, and we say nothing to the authorities.

Perhaps part of the problem is the distance between the people who steal and the people they're stealing from. People are less likely to steal from people they know, but when the victim is faceless and nameless, the criminal doesn't seem to have the natural empathy that ordinarily exists in each of us that makes us not want to hurt our fellow humans.

And the worst thing of all of this is the hypocrisy. These habitual thieves think what they do is fine, but if someone were to steal something they made, or take some of their hard earned money, they jump up and down, complain the police don't do enough, and demand the courts lock those thieves away for the rest of their lives.

Oh, by the way, I'm referring to illegal downloading of movies, music and other copyrighted content from the internet; a crime which Australia is leading the world in.