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Why is shoplifting so easy

Invitation to shoplift? The police will not charge you

On the 3rd of August 2021, HOOVER Institution, part of Stanford University, published an extraordinary article on the Internet. According to Hoover Institution, the state of California is giving shoplifters an open invitation to come and shop without paying. Why? Because stealing goods worth $950 or less is only a misdemeanor under the law, which means the police won’t bother to investigate, and if they do, prosecutors will let it go.

Why aren’t shop employees doing something about this theft?

Because they don’t want to take the risk knowing that a Rite Aid employee was killed after trying to stop two thieves. Moreover, there is a risk that a confrontation in the shop will harm not only the shop employees but also the customers, so the employees have almost certainly been instructed by their managers not to do anything, according to Hoover’s article.

In an article published by the San Diego Union-Tribune on 12 December 2021, the question of whether California needs stricter laws against shoplifting is answered by most experts with YES. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention in Melville, NY, shoplifting results in a loss of approximately $50 billion a year to the US retail industry.

Everyone understands that the cost of shoplifting is factored into the prices of items. So, we all contribute to this form of crime. Unfortunately, shoplifting is not just a problem in California. Shoplifting occurs in every country.
Of course, most supermarkets today are equipped with detection gates and many expensive products have security stickers, but shoplifting is still occurring in more and more supermarkets. And it is not just a single item that disappears into a pocket or bag but shoplifting where shopping trolleys are loaded with valuable products without paying for them.
How easy is it to load up a shopping trolley and leave the supermarket without paying? Very easy when you know that staff have been instructed not to intervene in cases of shoplifting.

Shoplifting is of all times. In recent years, the number of shoplifting incidents in supermarkets has risen sharply. Groceries are becoming more expensive, and many shoplifting crimes are committed on a whim. Barbera Staib of the National Shoplifting Association says that 70% of shoplifting incidents are not planned, but the idea to steal arises while shopping in the supermarket. The NASP gives the shocking facts about shoplifting on its website.

Is your shop a shoplifters dream?

Do you want to know if your shop is a shoplifter’s dream? We put together a checklist with a couple of questions regarding shoplifting. Answer those for yourself and get to know if your shop is at risk.



Facts about shoplifting

➔ The frequency and scale of shoplifting results in $50 billion in retail crime annually
➔ Approximately 1 in 11 Americans steals
➔ 550,000 shoplifting incidents per day
➔ Shops lose more than $45 million a day to shoplifting; communities lose the corresponding tax revenue
➔ Shoplifters say on average they get caught only once out of every 49 times they steal
➔ Chronic offenders say they get arrested once in every 100 times they steal
➔ 79% of criminal justice experts surveyed say shoplifting is a precursor to more costly and violent crime
➔ Every time an offender enters the criminal justice system, it costs taxpayers more than $2,000

Why do shoppers steal so easily?

It is clear that most products stolen in supermarkets are expensive products. Among shoplifters, meat, baby food, cheese, energy drinks and liqueurs are especially popular to steal.

According to Dr Read Hayes of the Loss Prevention Research Council, greed is often the reason for the theft. Shoplifters also often justify their theft with arguments such as, “life is already so expensive”, “I’ve worked hard enough to reward myself” or “it’s a big company, they already earn so much and don’t notice this little theft”.

The Toronto Star of 8 February 2022 quotes a report from Canada’s Food Price Report of December 2021. According to this report, a growing phenomenon linked to increasing food insecurity due to high inflation is theft from grocery shops, which is expected to increase in 2022.
“Grocers anecdotally report an increase in theft, particularly of items such as meat, cheese, over-the-counter medicines and energy drinks. Unreported losses from theft can reach $3,000 to $4,000 per week in some Canadian grocery shops.”

Increase in self-scanning checkouts

A major study by the University of Leicester in 2015 found that self-scanning checkouts and self-scanners caused a doubling of shoplifting. Have you ever paid at a self-scanning checkout and realized how easy shoplifting can be?

A UK website dedicated to money saving strategies,
surveyed some 5,000 people and found that almost a third of shoppers have stolen from supermarket self-scanning checkouts.

The University of Leicester study also found that in many supermarkets shoplifting is not well documented because large losses due to theft are seen as “poor shop management”.

Lost Profits

When a shopper steals an item, the shop must recover the full cost of the item, rather than the shop’s profit margin on the lost inventory. The amount the shop must recover depends on the shop’s profit margin and the cost of the stolen item. For example, grocery shops typically operate on a 1% profit margin. This means that a grocer must recover $100 for every $1 of stolen inventory. The cost of theft is included in the supermarkets’ product prices.

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