The Elements of Shoplifting


According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention “There are approximately 27 million shoplifters (or 1 in 11 people) in our nation today. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.” With such a large portion of shoplifters going without penalty, it is easy to see the burden that is being placed on stores throughout the country.

Due to these losses, the price for security expenses has had to increase; which in turn increases the cost of goods to consumers.  These may seem counterproductive to those who are stealing but not everyone who steals does so out of need.

Why do people steal?

In many situations, people will steal on the sole basis that they believe they have the opportunity. That they won’t get caught. “In fact, 80% of customers who steal merchandise are opportunists and do not walk into the store with the intent to steal.” (Wiki) This means that a majority of shoplifting can be preventable.

Some of the preventative techniques include:

  • Uniformed security
  • Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) with inventory control devices
  • Surveillance systems
  • Locked display cases
  • “We Prosecute” signs
  • Fish-eye mirrors
  • Greet customers with eye contact
  • Keep a clean and organized store
  • Keep commonly stolen items near register
  • Have adequate staff

Besides the opportunists, there are other elements that can make up a “shoplifter”. Shoplifting is also a common addiction. Drug addicts who become addicted to shoplifting receive the same “high” each time they get away with a crime. This rush also applies to opportunists who become habitual shoplifters. These individuals steal, on average, 1.6 times a week. Then you have those who steal with the intent of resale. Surprisingly, these thieves only make up 3% of shoplifters. Finally, there are those who steal out of actual need: food, toiletries, and clothing.

Whatever the reason behind the crimes, there are ways to prevent these losses. You can implement the above techniques as well as the advice from any of our other posts on shoplifting.

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Written by: Heather Haney

Date: 11/2/16


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