Recent police reports show several instances of shoplifting here at the dollar general on Morgantown Rd. and that has some wondering if there's a trend. The short answer is no, but some psychologists believe there's more to the story.
"I pull the lever, and I didn't win that time, but I'm due, so I pull the lever again. I didn't get away with it this time, so maybe next time I'll do it. It's that kind of rush that goes along with the behavior," said Dr. Rick Grieve, WKU Clinical Psychology Professor.
The desire to have that rush isn't limited to any group of people, with police saying they see shoplifters from the age of 14 to 70.
"If we had to say what the demographics are of a shoplifter, for us, we don't really notice any particular age group, or a race, or a sex... anything that would lead us to group people together," said Bowling Green Police Officer Ronnie Ward.
Both police and psychologists say that the trait of shoplifting isn't really limited to any specific demographic, but what they do say, is that the method of deterrence can play a major factor.
"First you have to have somebody buy into the fact that they need treatment," said Dr. Grieve.
That treatment depends on the source of the problem. In some cases, the behavior stems from other disorders.
"What is the purpose of the shoplifting behavior in the first place... what is it? That depression.. that anxiety. Is there some hole that this is filling, and can we fill it in a more socially appropriate way," said Dr. Grieve.
Dr. Grieve says that treating addictions like these can be difficult because many times, people don't want to look at the underlying issues that cause the problem.
The method of deterrence or choice to prosecute shoplifters varies business to business. The legal repercussions depend on the value of stolen items and frequency of the crime.