The shoplifting problem 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.
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 from theft.
- The inconvenience and invasiveness of security measures to consumers when shopping in stores.
- The loss of community jobs when stores are forced to close.
- 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 and economic 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.