Holiday Shoplifting

By: Stephanie Stang
By: Stephanie Stang

Retailers are working during the busiest time of the year and unfortunately so are shoplifters. In fact according to the Better Business Bureau, retailers lose more than $16 million nationwide in theft during the month of December.

Tom Forte, of the Bowling Green Police Department, says many store employees will be too busy handling the holiday traffic to monitor theft. Retailers also say much of store theft is internal because employers hire temporary help who are not held accountable after the holidays.

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Who is a Shoplifter?

  • Shoplifters can be male or female, any race or color, as young as five or well into their 80s.

  • Anyone who deliberately takes merchandise from a store without paying for it is a shoplifter, whether the theft is large or small, premeditated or impulsive.

  • Young people account for about 50 percent of all shoplifting.

  • Shoplifting is usually the first type of theft attempted by juveniles, and it may lead to more serious crimes.

  • Many respectable people fall into the category of impulse shoplifting.

  • Impulse shoplifters have not premeditated their thefts, but a sudden chance (such as an unattended dressing room or a blind aisle in a supermarket)presents itself and the shopper succumbs to temptation.

  • Alcoholics, vagrants, and drug addicts can be driven by an urgent physical need to theft, as well as to other crimes.

  • Alcoholics, vagrants, and drug addicts are often clumsy or erratic in their behavior and may be easier than other types of shoplifters to detect.

  • Kleptomaniacs are motivated by a compulsion to steal. They usually have little or no actual use for the items they steal and in many cases could well afford to pay for them.

  • The professional shoplifter is in the business of theft, he or she is usually highly skilled and hard to spot.

  • Professionals generally steal items that will quickly be resold. They tend to concentrate on high-demand goods such as televisions, stereos, and other small appliances.

  • The professional may case a store or department well in advance of the actual theft.

Source: http://www.sba.gov/library/pubs/cp-2.txt ( The U.S. Small Business Administration Web site)


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