Changes to Farms security due to increased fear of theft

Layla Demir '24, Copy Editor

Photo of Fresh Farms Market on Friday, January 13. (Margot Murphy ’23)

It’s an early start for Fresh Farms Market employees as they prepare for the daily lunch rush that occurs every day school is in session. Whether it’s rolling out dough to be decorated with toppings or stocking the cooler shelves with a variety of beverages, each has their work cut out for them to meet the profitable demand However, this happy balance between producer and consumer has lately been disturbed by shoplifters.

Larry Najjar, proud co-owner, has implemented policies to directly address this all-too-common issue, which is nearly impossible to control with so many students coming in and out of the establishment.

“To begin with, the policy has always been that you leave your bags out front, limiting the number of students who come in,” Najjar said.

This has aided in not only keeping the store from becoming overcrowded, but also in identifying suspicious activity. Furthermore, employees have been instructed to check receipts, closely monitor aisles and ensure that customers enter and exit from one door.

According to GPPSS resource officer Jon Ross, stealing from businesses such as Farms Market goes beyond just being disrespectful, and can land students in a lot of trouble for something as insignificant as taking a piece of candy.

“‘Oh, I’m just stealing a piece of candy,” Ross said. “Sure, but the real charge in the eyes of the criminal law is actually retail fraud. Steal your habitual candy bar three times, and now that’s a felony”.

Ross firmly believes that stashing that candy bar in is not worth the permanent stain on one’s record, let alone the consequences of a felony charge.

A lot of students, like Shylah Clute ’26, benefit from the convenience of Farms and it being in such a close proximity to Southl.

“I go there a lot after school just to get a quick snack or drink,” Clute said.

Although Clute hasn’t directly seen anyone steal from Farms, she says that she has noticed that employees have become more strict since the beginning of the year, especially during the lunch rush.

Najjar appreciates students like Clute who support his business and abide by the rules set in place to keep everyone safe and things productive and is open to student input on ways to further limit theft.

“I don’t think we’ve found that perfect balance yet,” Najjar said.