Shoplifting is our nation’s “silent crime”.
Parents don’t want to believe it, schools don’t
address it, retailers don’t want to talk about it, police
don’t want to respond to it, courts don’t want
to deal with it and the people who do the shoplifting either
rationalize it as “no big deal” or are too ashamed
or too afraid to admit it.
As a result, shoplifting has become one of the most
prevalent crimes in the U.S., averaging about 550,000
incidents per day resulting in more than $13 billion
worth of goods being stolen from retailers each year. That
is more than $35 million in losses per day.
Current estimates are as high as 1 in 11 Americans who shoplift
in our nation today.
Even with all the advances in security measures, shoplifters
are only caught once in 49 times they steal and when caught,
turned over to the police only 50% of the time. This is due,
in part, to the fact that there is a trend away from shoplifter
apprehension and prosecution by retailers, law enforcement
and the courts as a way to cope with increasing costs, time
issues and legal liability. These issues and others lead to
the majority of shoplifting incidents going unrecognized,
unreported and unresolved. . .thereby perpetuating the problem.
Even so, reported shoplifting offenses are currently on the
rise according to the FBI Crime Index.
The shoplifting dilemma is compounded by the fact that the
crime is primarily committed by otherwise law-abiding citizens
enticed by the temptation and opportunity to “get something
for nothing” which presents itself as part of everyday
life. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting
in the last five years. This situation reflects an inherent
defect in our societal values which opens a gateway to corrupt
our youth and weaken our nation.
Shoplifting has traditionally been treated as a retail industry-specific
problem to be prevented exclusively by the retail victims
themselves. While it is true that shoplifting’s most
visible costs are to the retail industry, it is clearly not
solely a retail industry problem as many would like to believe.
Shoplifting hurts entire communities. Consider. . .
- The higher prices consumers must pay to cover the losses
- The inconvenience and invasiveness of security measures
to consumers when shopping in stores.
- The loss of community jobs when stores are forced to
- The loss of local and state sales tax revenue resulting
in higher taxes for everyone.
- The added burden on the police and the courts.
- The added financial and emotional hardship placed on
families resulting from the arrest of a parent or child.
- The corruption of our youth and our future, when dishonesty
is not effectively addressed at its most fundamental level.
Shoplifting has become a social issue in need of a community
response because shoplifting steals from all of us. Providing
an overarching, active community response to shoplifting is
essential to the future welfare of our society because the
crime directly affects so many people. Without comprehensive
community action we will continue to undermine current crime
prevention efforts, suffer economic loss and family hardship
and weaken the values of honesty, integrity and character
in our youth and our future.
For more information, please click on the buttons in the
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