Legal Guide

Why Is There a Surge in Shoplifting?

Shoplifting has recently become a sport of sorts as individuals have started to do it more frequently. Globally businesses face over $45 billion in economic losses every year due to the increase in shoplifting. Perhaps the most affected region in the United States of America is the bay area. Local chain grocery stores have had to shut down their branches in certain areas due to these incidents, combined with the fact that the resale of these stolen items has become more accessible because of Covid-19.

It is understood that shoplifting isn't simply restricted to crimes done by the lower class. Upper-class individuals are also guilty of shoplifting because it may be compulsivity or a thrill-seeking activity. This ease in stealing from certain stores comes from the idea that these stores aren't entirely innocent and will not be put into irreparable loss if one or two items are stolen here and there. People consider themselves rebels for overthrowing the "evil corporations" exploiting individuals for their money, creating class disparity among the population.

It also interests these thieves that the average threshold to determine an act as theft is relatively high. In some areas, goods under $1,000 are considered insufficient and declared a "misdemeanor" instead of a punishable crime. 

The media also plays a role in shoplifting, making it an act of normalcy that is portrayed as a right of passage among teenagers and is something most have done. Individuals in gatherings are willing to share their shoplifting stories with no sense of remorse for the wrongful act. 

To add fuel to the fire, stores that belong to chains will rarely give accurate and sound information regarding shoplifting incidents in their vicinity. The statistics that the public can find are seldom as precise. Companies feel like they have bigger fish to fry than worrying about a candy bar or a packet of chips stolen. 

"Like any human behavior, there is a psychology to shoplifting. It's time the government starts looking deeper into why people are drawn to shoplifting and how we can solve the problem at its core," says criminal defense attorney David Benowitz

Perhaps, one of the reasons why shoplifting is more apparent in America is the importance of privacy that every citizen feels they have a right to. This includes stores. People do not want to be followed in a store and want to keep to themselves. Any store that is too obvious in its surveillance might even lose customers in the long run. This ideology prevents any strict or structural laws from being passed in America to stop shoplifting. Many of these stores also have an anti-chasing policy that prevents store employees from following these people around once they are inside the stores. This is also because they have had mishaps happen, and repetition is not ideal for the store.

However, some of these stores have hired people, especially for this purpose, but to what degree this is efficient is unknown. The absurdity of the situation is why many people, including politicians, do not like to invest a significant amount of time in the matter, which is why the issue is mainly left untouched.

More to Read: