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Shoplifting is the
theft Theft is the taking of another person's property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of pr ...

theft
of goods from an open
retail Retail is the sale of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption ( ...

retail
establishment, typically by concealing a store item on one's person, in pockets, under clothes, or in a bag, and leaving the store without paying. With clothing, shoplifters may put on items from the store and leave the store wearing the clothes. The terms "shoplifting" and "shoplifter" are not usually defined in law. The crime of shoplifting generally falls under the legal classification of
larceny Larceny is a crime involving the unlawful taking or theft Theft is the taking of another person's property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themse ...
. Shoplifting is distinct from
burglary Burglary, also called breaking and entering and sometimes housebreaking, is illegally entering a building or other areas to commit a crime. Usually that offence is theft, but most jurisdictions include others within the ambit of burglary. To co ...
(theft by breaking into a closed store),
robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a State (polity), state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farm ...

robbery
(stealing by threatening or engaging in violent behavior), or
armed robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a State (polity), state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farm ...
(stealing by using a weapon). In the retail industry, the word " shrinkage" (or "shrink") can be used to refer to merchandise lost by shoplifting, but the word also includes loss by other means, such as waste, uninsured damage to products, and theft by store employees. Shoplifters range from amateurs acting on impulse, to
career criminal A habitual offender, repeat offender, or career criminal, is a person convicted of a crime who was previously convicted of crimes. Various State (polity), state and jurisdictions may have laws targeting habitual offenders, and specifically providi ...
s who habitually engage in shoplifting as a form of income. Career criminals may use several individuals to shoplift, with some participants distracting store employees while another participant steals items. Amateurs typically steal products for personal use, while career criminals generally steal items to resell them in the
underground economy A black market, underground economy or shadow economy, is a clandestine ''The ClanDestine'' (also known simply as ''ClanDestine'') is an appellation used to refer to the Destines, a fictional secret family of long-lived superhuman beings ...
. Other forms of shoplifting include swapping price labels of different items, return fraud, or eating a grocery store's food without paying for it. Commonly shoplifted items are those with a high price in proportion to their size, such as disposable razor blades, vitamins, alcoholic beverages, and cigarettes. Stores use a number of strategies to reduce shoplifting, including storing small, expensive items in locked glass cases; chaining or otherwise attaching items to shelves or clothes racks (particularly expensive items); attaching magnetic or radio sensors or dyepacks to items; installing curved mirrors mounted above shelves or
video cameras and video monitors
video cameras and video monitors
, hiring plainclothes "
store detective A store detective (also known as Asset Protection Investigator, Loss Prevention Detective, and Asset Protection Specialist) is a member of loss prevention Retail loss prevention (also known as Retail asset protection) is a set of practices employed ...
s" and
security guard #REDIRECT Security guard#REDIRECT Security guard A security guard (also known as a security inspector, security officer, or protective agent) is a person employed by a government or private party to protect the employing party's assets (property ...
s, and banning the bringing in of backpacks or other bags. Some stores have security guards at the exit, who search backpacks and bags and check receipts. Stores also combat shoplifting by training employees how to detect potential shoplifters. The first documented shoplifting started to take place in 16th century
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
. By the early 19th century, shoplifting was believed to be primarily a female activity. In the 1960s, shoplifting began to be redefined again, this time as a political act. Researchers divide shoplifters into two categories: "boosters" (professionals who resell what they steal), and "snitches" (amateurs who steal for their personal use).


Definition

Shoplifting is the act of knowingly taking goods from an establishment in which they are displayed for sale, without paying for them. Shoplifting usually involves concealing items on the person or an accomplice, and leaving the store without paying. However, shoplifting can also include price switching (swapping the price labels of different goods), refund fraud, and "grazing" (eating or sampling a store's goods while in the store). Price switching is now an almost extinct form of shoplifting for two reasons. First, the labels will split apart upon attempted removal, and second, virtually all retail cashiers now scan items at the register, rather than relying on price stickers. Retailers report that shoplifting has a significant effect on their bottom line, stating that about 0.6% of all inventory disappears to shoplifters. Generally, criminal theft involves taking possession of property illegally. In self-service shops, customers are allowed by the property owner to take physical possession of the property by holding or moving it. This leaves areas of ambiguity that could criminalize some people for simple mistakes, such as accidental putting of a small item in a pocket or forgetting to pay. For this reason penalties for shoplifting are often lower than those for general theft. Few jurisdictions have specific shoplifting legislation with which to differentiate it from other forms of theft, so reduced penalties are usually at a judge's discretion. Most retailers are aware of the serious consequences of making a
false arrest False arrest is a common law tort, where a plaintiff A plaintiff ( Π in legal shorthand) is the party who initiates a lawsuit A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic te ...
, and will only attempt to apprehend a person if their guilt is beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on local laws, arrests made by anyone other than law enforcement officers may also be illegal.


Types of individuals


Amateurs

Some shoplifters are
amateur An amateur (; ; ) is generally considered a person who pursues a particular activity or field of study independently from their source of income. Amateurs and their pursuits are also described as popular, informal, self-taught Autodidacticism ...
s who do not steal regularly from stores and who do not use shoplifting as a form of income (e.g., by reselling stolen goods). Researchers call these amateurs "snitches", as they are stealing items for their personal use. In several countries, criminal
flash mob A flash mob (or flashmob) is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. Flash mobs may be organized via t ...

flash mob
s, primarily made up of teenagers and young adults, enter stores with the intention of stealing merchandise while accomplices distract staff.


Career criminals

However, there are people and groups who make their living from shoplifting and other crimes. They tend to be more skilled
career criminal A habitual offender, repeat offender, or career criminal, is a person convicted of a crime who was previously convicted of crimes. Various State (polity), state and jurisdictions may have laws targeting habitual offenders, and specifically providi ...
s who use more sophisticated shoplifting tactics. Researchers call professional thieves "boosters", as they tend to resell what they steal on the
black market A black market, underground economy or shadow economy, is a clandestine ''The ClanDestine'' (also known simply as ''ClanDestine'') is an appellation used to refer to the Destines, a fictional secret family of long-lived superhuman beings ...
.


Legal definitions

Shoplifting is considered a form of theft and is subject to prosecution. In the United Kingdom, theft is defined as "dishonestly appropriateproperty belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and "thief" and "steal" shall be construed accordingly." It is one of the most common crimes. Shoplifting peaks between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m., and is lowest from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. In the United States, shoplifting increases during the
Christmas Christmas is an annual festival commemorating Nativity of Jesus, the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people Observance of Christmas by country, around the world ...

Christmas
season, and arrest rates increase during
spring break Spring break is a vacation A vacation (American English), or holiday (British English), is a leave of absence from a regular job. People often take a vacation during specific holiday observances, or for specific festivals or celebrations ...

spring break
.
Rutgers University Rutgers University (RU; ), officially known as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an orga ...
criminologist Criminology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...
Ronald V. Clarke says shoplifters steal "hot products" that are "CRAVED", an acronym he created that stands for "concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable, and disposable".


Common items

The most commonly shoplifted item used to be
cigarettes A cigarette is a narrow cylinder containing burnable material, typically tobacco Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological ...

cigarettes
, until stores started keeping them behind the cash register. Commonly shoplifted items are usually small and easy to hide, such as
groceries A grocery store (North America), grocer or grocery shop (UK), is a store primarily engaged in retailing a general range of food products, which may be Fresh food, fresh or Food preservation, packaged. In everyday U.S. usage, however, "grocery s ...

groceries
, especially
steak A steak is a meat generally sliced across the muscle fibers, potentially including a bone. It is normally grilling, grilled, though can also be Pan frying, pan-fried. Steak can also be cooked in sauce, such as in steak and kidney pie, or mi ...

steak
and
instant coffee Instant coffee, also called soluble coffee, coffee crystals, coffee powder, or powdered coffee, is a beverage derived from brewed coffee bean A coffee bean is a seed of the ''Coffea ''Coffea'' is a genus of flowering plants in the Fami ...

instant coffee
, razor blades and cartridges, small technology items such as
MP3 players An MP3 player is an electronic device that can play MP3 digital audio Digital audio is a representation of sound recorded in, or converted into, Digital signal (signal processing), digital form. In digital audio, the sound wave of the audi ...
,
smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can per ...

smartphone
s,
USB flash drive A USB flash drive (i.e. thumb drive) is a that includes with an integrated interface. It is typically removable, rewritable and much smaller than an . Most weigh less than . Since first appearing on the market in late 2000, as with virtuall ...

USB flash drive
s,
earphones Headphones are a pair of small loudspeaker drivers worn on or around the head over a user's ears. They are electroacousticElectroacoustic or Electroacoustics may refer to: * Electroacoustics (acoustical engineering), a branch of acoustical ...

earphones
,
CDs The compact disc (CD) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using discrete digits, often binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electronics The field of ele ...

CDs
and
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital elect ...

DVD
s,
gift card A gift card also known as gift certificate in North America, or gift voucher or gift token in the UK is a prepaid stored-value money card, usually issued by a retailer Retail is the sale of and to s, in contrast to , which is sale to b ...

gift card
s,
cosmetics Cosmetics are constituted mixtures of chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and take ...
,
jewelry Jewellery or jewelry consists of decorative items worn for personal adornment 150px, The principal adornment of these girls from the Bundu tribe in Sierra Leone is the adornment of bodies and faces with markings produced by the smearing on by ...

jewelry
,
multivitamin A multivitamin is a preparation intended to serve as a dietary supplement with vitamins, dietary minerals, and other nutritional elements. Such preparations are available in the form of tablets, capsules, pastilles, powders, liquids, or injectable ...
s, pregnancy tests,
electric toothbrush An electric toothbrush is a toothbrush A toothbrush is an oral hygiene Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping one's mouth clean and free of disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure ...

electric toothbrush
es, and
clothing Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body. Typically, clothing is made of fabrics or textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long ...

clothing
. In the United States, frequently shoplifted books include ones by authors
Charles Bukowski Henry Charles Bukowski ( ; born Heinrich Karl Bukowski, ; August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German–American poet, novelist, and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambiance of his home ...
, Jim Thompson,
Philip K. Dick Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928March 2, 1982) was an American writer known for his work in science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magaz ...
,
Martin Amis Martin Louis Amis (born 25 August 1949) is a British novelist, essayist, memoirist, and screenwriter. He is best known for his novels ''Money (novel), Money'' (1984) and ''London Fields (novel), London Fields'' (1989). He received the James Tait B ...
,
Paul Auster Paul Benjamin Auster (born February 3, 1947) is an American writer and film director. His notable works include ''The New York Trilogy'' (1987), ''Moon Palace'' (1989), ''The Music of Chance'' (1990), ''The Book of Illusions'' (2002), ''The Brook ...

Paul Auster
,
Georges Bataille Georges Albert Maurice Victor Bataille (; ; 10 September 1897 – 9 July 1962) was a French philosopher and intellectual working in philosophy, literature, sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of soc ...
,
William S. Burroughs William Seward Burroughs II (; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American writer and visual artist, credited as a primary figure of the Beat Generation The Beat Generation was a literary movement started by a group ...
, Hunter S. Thompson,
Italo Calvino Italo Calvino (, also , ;. RAI (circa 1970), retrieved 25 October 2012. 15 October 1923 – 19 September 1985) was an Italian writer and journalist. His best known works include the ''Our Ancestors'' trilogy (1952–1959), the ''Cosmicomic ...
,
Don DeLillo Donald Richard DeLillo (born November 20, 1936) is an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter and essayist. His works have covered subjects as diverse as television, nuclear war Nuclear warfare (sometimes atomi ...
,
Raymond Chandler Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was an American-British novelist and screenwriter. In 1932, at the age of forty-four, Chandler became a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive durin ...
,
Michel Foucault Paul-Michel Foucault (, ; ; 15 October 192625 June 1984) was a French philosopher, History of ideas, historian of ideas, writer, political activist, and Literary criticism, literary critic. Foucault's theories primarily address the relationship ...

Michel Foucault
,
Dashiell Hammett Samuel Dashiell Hammett (; May 27, 1894 – January 10, 1961) was an American author of hard-boiled Hardboiled (or hard-boiled) fiction is a literary genre that shares some of its characters and settings with crime fiction (especially detectiv ...
,
Jack Kerouac Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac (; March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969), known as Jack Kerouac, was an American novelist and poet of French Canadians, French Canadian ancestry, who, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was a pioneer o ...

Jack Kerouac
and other
Beat generation The Beat Generation was a literary movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture The culture of the United States of America is primarily of Western culture, Western origin, but its influences i ...
writers,
Jeanette Winterson Jeanette Winterson (born 27 August 1959) is an English writer, who became famous with her first book, '' Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit'', a Autobiographical novel, semi-autobiographical novel about a sensitive teenage girl rebelling against c ...
,
Chuck Palahniuk Charles Michael "Chuck" Palahniuk (; born February 21, 1962) is an American freelance journalist and novelist who describes his work as transgressive fiction, transgressional fiction. He has published 19 novels, three nonfiction books, two graphic ...

Chuck Palahniuk
,
Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer. His novels, essays, and short stories have been bestsellers in Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinc ...

Haruki Murakami
,
Jeffrey Eugenides Jeffrey Kent Eugenides (born March 8, 1960) is an American novelist and short story writer. He has written numerous short stories and essays, as well as three novels: ''The Virgin Suicides ''The Virgin Suicides'' is a 1993 debut novel by the Am ...

Jeffrey Eugenides
, and Mark Z. Danielewski.Rosenbaum, Ron
"Shoplift Lit: You Are What You Steal"
column, ''
The New York Observer ''The New York Observer'' was a weekly newspaper printed from 1987 to 2016, when it ceased print publication and became the online-only newspaper ''Observer''. The media site focuses on culture, real estate, media, politics and the entertainmen ...
'', September 26, 1999, retrieved December 20, 2009
"Book Stealing"
, segment transcript, ''
On the Media ''On the Media'' (''OTM'') is an hour-long weekly radio program hosted by Brooke Gladstone, covering journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of report Image:Hurt Report cover page.png, 220px, Example of a front page of a ...
'', December 23, 2005, retrieved December 20, 2009
Brown, Mick
"Jeffrey Eugenides: Enduring love"
''The Telegraph'', January 5, 2008, retrieved December 20, 2009
Rabb, Margo

essay, ''The New York Times Book Review'', December 20, 2009, retrieved same day
Constant, Paul
"Flying Off the Shelves: The Pleasures and Perils of Chasing Book Thieves"
'' The Stranger'', February 26, 2008, retrieved December 20, 2009
''(See Book store shoplifting.)''


Economist perspectives

Economists say shoplifting is common because it is a relatively unskilled crime with low entry barriers that can be fitted into a normal lifestyle. People of every
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
,
race Race, RACE or "The Race" may refer to: * Race (biology), an informal taxonomic classification within a species, generally within a sub-species * Race (human categorization), classification of humans into groups based on physical traits, and/or s ...
,
ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of persons considered as a whole. Used in politics and law it is a term to refer to the collective or community of an ethnic group, a nation, to the public or ...

ethnicity
,
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is ...

gender
, and
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those soc ...
shoplift. Originally, analysis of data about apprehended shoplifters and interviews with
store detective A store detective (also known as Asset Protection Investigator, Loss Prevention Detective, and Asset Protection Specialist) is a member of loss prevention Retail loss prevention (also known as Retail asset protection) is a set of practices employed ...
s suggested that females were almost twice as likely as males to shoplift. However, since 1980, the data suggest that males are equally or more likely to shoplift than females. The average shoplifter first did it at the age of ten: shoplifting tends to peak in
adolescence Adolescence ()''Macmillan Dictionary for Students'' Macmillan, Pan Ltd. (1981), page 14, 456. Retrieved July 15, 2010. is a transitional stage of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor * ...
then steadily declines thereafter. People of all races shoplift equally, and poor people shoplift only slightly more than rich people. Men tend to shoplift using bags, and women using strollers. When caught, a shoplifter has on average $200 worth of unpaid merchandise.


Methods


Concealing

Shoplifters may conceal items in their pockets, under their clothes, in bags, or in a personal item they are carrying (for example, a box) or pushing (for example, a stroller) or, if at a shopping center/mall, a bag from another store in that center. The use of backpacks and other bags to shoplift has led some stores to not allow people with backpacks in the store, often by asking the person to leave their backpack at a store counter. With clothes, shoplifters may put on the store clothing underneath their own clothes and leave the store.


Walkout/pushout

Some shoppers fill a shopping cart with unconcealed merchandise, and walk out of the store without paying. Security workers call that method "walkout" or "pushout". With clothing, some shoplifters may simply put on a coat or jacket from the store and walk out wearing the item. This tactic is used because busy employees may simply not notice a person pushing a cart out without paying or walking out wearing a store-owned coat. Some "pushout" shoplifters purposefully exit quickly to avoid detection, as this gives employees less time to react. Many stores instruct employees other than those directly involved in theft prevention or security to confront someone only verbally to avoid any possibility of being held liable for injury or unwarranted detention. While that may allow stolen goods to not be recovered, the loss of revenue may be judged to be acceptable in light of the cost of a potential lawsuit or an employee being injured by a fleeing shoplifter.


History

Shoplifting, originally called "lifting", is as old as shopping. The first documented shoplifting started to take place in 16th-century
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
, and was carried out by groups of men called lifters. In 1591,
playwright A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * Play (theatre), a work of drama Play may refer also to: Computers and technology * Google Play, a digital c ...
Robert Greene published a
pamphlet A pamphlet is an unbound book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more te ...

pamphlet
titled ''The Second Part of Cony Catching'', in which he described how three men could conspire to shoplift clothes and fabric from London merchants. When it was first documented, shoplifting was characterized as an
underworld The underworld also known as the netherworld is the supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the Scientific law, laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entity, no ...
practice: shoplifters were also
con artist A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and ...
s, pickpockets,
pimp Procuring or pandering is the facilitation or provision of a prostitute Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the m ...
s, or
prostitutes Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for payment. Prostitution is sometimes described as sexual services, commercial sex or, colloquially, hooking. It is sometimes referred to euphemistically ...
. In the late 17th century, London shopkeepers began to display goods in ways designed to attract shoppers, such as in window displays and glass cases. This made the goods more accessible for shoppers to handle and examine, which historians say led to an acceleration of shoplifting. The word shoplift (then, shop-lift) first appeared at the end of the 17th century in books like ''The Ladies Dictionary'', which, as well as describing shoplifting, provided tips on losing weight and styling hair. Female shoplifters of this period were also called "Amazons" or "roaring girl". Notorious female shoplifters in London included
Mary Frith Mary Frith (c. 1584 – 26 July 1659), alias Moll (or Mal) Cutpurse, was a notorious pickpocket and Fence (criminal), fence of the London criminal underworld, underworld. Meaning of nicknames Moll, apart from being a nickname for Mary, ...
, the pickpocket and
fence A fence is a structure that encloses an area, typically outdoors, and is usually constructed from posts that are connected by boards, wire, rails or netting. A fence differs from a wall A wall is a structure and a surface that defines an ...
also known as Moll Cutpurse, pickpocket Moll King, Sarah McCabe whose shoplifting career spanned twenty years, and Maria Carlston (also known as Mary Blacke), whose life was documented by diarist
Samuel Pepys Samuel Pepys ( ; 23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an English diarist and naval administrator. He served as administrator of the Navy of England and Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people ...

Samuel Pepys
, who was eventually executed for theft, and who for years shoplifted clothing and household linens in London with one or more female accomplices. In 1699, the
English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of b ...
passed The Shoplifting Act, part of the
Bloody Code The "Bloody Code" was the system of crimes in England in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It was not referred to as such in its own time, but the name was given later owing to the sharply increased number of people given the death penalty, eve ...
that punished petty crimes with death. People convicted of shoplifting items worth more than five
shillings The shilling is a historical coin, and the name of a unit of modern currencies A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-D ...
would be
hanged Hanging is the suspension of a person by a noose A noose is a loop at the end of a rope A rope is a group of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, croc ...

hanged
in London's
Tyburn Tree Tyburn was a Manorialism, manor (estate) in the county of Middlesex, one of two which were served by the parish of Marylebone. The parish, probably therefore also the manor, was bounded by Roman roads to the west (modern Edgware Road) and sout ...

Tyburn Tree
(known as the " Tyburn jig") with crowds of thousands watching, or would be
transported ''Transported'' is an Australian convict melodrama film directed by W. J. Lincoln. It is considered a lost film. Plot In England, Jessie Grey is about to marry Leonard Lincoln but the evil Harold Hawk tries to force her to marry him and she woun ...
to the North American colonies or to
Botany Bay Botany Bay (Aboriginal Aborigine, aborigine or aboriginal may refer to: * Indigenous peoples, ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area **List of indigenous peoples, including: ***Aboriginal Australians ****A ...
in Australia. Some merchants found The Shoplifting Act overly severe, jurors often deliberately under-valued the cost of items stolen so convicted shoplifters would escape death, and reformist lawyers advocated for the Act's repeal, but The Shoplifting Act was supported by powerful people such as
Lord Ellenborough Baron Ellenborough, of Ellenborough, Cumbria, Ellenborough in the Cumberland, County of Cumberland, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 19 April 1802 for the lawyer, judge and politician Edward Law, 1st Baron Ellenboro ...

Lord Ellenborough
, who characterized penal transportation as "a summer airing to a milder climate" and the
archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Cat ...
, who believed that strong punishment was necessary to prevent a dramatic increase in crime. As England began to embrace
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
ideas about
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...

crime
and
punishment Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of soci ...

punishment
in the 18th century, opposition to the Bloody Code began to grow. The last English execution for shoplifting was carried out in 1822, and in 1832 the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
reclassified shoplifting as a non-capital crime. By the early 19th century, shoplifting was believed to be primarily a female activity, and doctors began to redefine some shoplifting as what
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doctor André Matthey had then newly christened "klopemania" (kleptomania), from the Greek words "''kleptein''" (stealing) and "''mania''" (insanity). Kleptomania was primarily attributed to wealthy and middle-class women, and in 1896 was criticized by anarchist Emma Goldman as a way for the rich to excuse their own class from punishment, while continuing to punish the poor for the same acts. In the 1960s, shoplifting began to be redefined again, this time as a political act. In his 1970 book ''Do It: Scenarios of the Revolution'', American activist Jerry Rubin wrote "All money represents theft...shoplifting gets you high. Don't buy. Steal," and in ''The Anarchist Cookbook'', published in 1971, American author William Powell offered tips for how to shoplift. In his 1971 book ''Steal This Book'', American activist Abbie Hoffman offered tips on how to shoplift and argued that shoplifting is anti-corporate. In her book ''The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting'', social historian Rachel Shteir described how shoplifting from companies you dislike is considered by some activist groups, such as some Freeganism, freegans, decentralized anarchist collective CrimethInc, the Spanish anarchist collective Yomango and the Canadian magazine Adbusters, to be a morally defensible act of corporate sabotage.


Motivations

Researchers divide shoplifters into two categories: "boosters", professionals who resell what they steal, and "snitches", amateurs who steal items for their personal use. Motivations for shoplifting are controversial among researchers, although they generally agree that shoplifters are driven by either Personal finance, economic or psychosocial motives. Psychosocial motivations may include peer pressure, a desire for thrill or excitement, impulse, stealing because judgment is clouded by Substance intoxication, intoxication, or doing so because of a compulsive behavior, compulsion. Depression is the psychiatric disorder most commonly associated with shoplifting. Shoplifting is also associated with family or marital stress, social isolation, having had a difficult childhood, alcoholism or drug use, low self-esteem, and eating disorders, with bulimic shoplifters frequently stealing food. Some researchers have theorized that shoplifting is an unconscious attempt to make up for a past loss. Researchers have found that the decision to shoplift is associated with pro-shoplifting attitudes, social factors, opportunities for shoplifting and the perception that the shoplifter is unlikely to be caught. Researchers say that shoplifters justify their shoplifting through a variety of personal narratives, such as believing they are making up for having been victimized, that they are unfairly being denied things they deserve, or that the retailers they steal from are untrustworthy or immoral. Sociologists call these narratives Neutralisation (sociology), neutralizations, meaning mechanisms people use to silence values within themselves that would otherwise prevent them from carrying out a particular act. A 1984 program in West Texas designed to reduce recidivism (repeat offenses) among convicted adult shoplifters identified eight common beliefs of shoplifters: * If I am careful and smart, I will not get caught. * Even if I do get caught, I will not be turned in and prosecuted. * Even if I am prosecuted, the punishment will not be severe. * The merchants deserve what they get. * Everybody, at some time or another, has shoplifted; therefore it’s OK for me to do. * Shoplifting is not a major crime. * I must have the item I want to shoplift or if I want it, I should have it. * It is okay to shoplift because the merchants expect it. Developmental psychology, Developmental psychologists believe that children under the age of nine shoplift to test boundaries, and that tweens and teenagers shoplift mainly for excitement or the thrill, are "acting out" (or depressed), or are being pressured by their peers.


Differences by geography

Researches say that around the world, in countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Japan, and India, people tend to shoplift the same types of items, and frequently even the same brands. But there are also differences in shoplifting among different countries that reflect those countries' general consumption habits and preferences. In Milan, saffron, an expensive component of risotto, risotto alla Milanese, is frequently shoplifted, and throughout Italy, parmigiano reggiano is often stolen from supermarkets. In Spain, jamón ibérico is a frequent target. In France, the anise-flavoured liqueur Ricard Pastis, ricard is frequently stolen, and in Japan, experts believe that manga comics, electronic games and whisky are most frequently stolen. Bookstores and magazine sellers in Japan have also complained about what they call "digital shoplifting", which refers to the photographing of material in-store for later reading. Packaged cheese has been the most frequently shoplifted item in Norway, with thieves selling it afterwards to pizza parlours and fast food restaurants.


Economic impact and response from shops

According to a report from Tyco Integrated Security, Tyco Retail Solutions, the global retail industry lost an estimated $34 billion in sales in 2017 to shoplifting, which is approximately 2 percent of total revenue. Shoplifting is the largest single reason for loss of merchandise. Retailers report that shoplifting has a significant effect on their bottom line, stating that about 0.6% of all inventory disappears to shoplifters. According to the 2012 National Retail Security Survey, shoplifting costs American retailers approximately $14B annually. In 2001, it was claimed that shoplifting cost US retailers $25 million a day. Observers believe that industry shoplifting numbers are over half employee theft or fraud and the rest by patrons. Of course, if apprehended during the shoplifting the merchandise is generally recovered by the retailers and there is often no loss to the store owner when the merchandise is surrendered to the store by the suspects. In addition, in many states retailers have the right to recover civil damages to cover the cost of providing security. According to a December 23, 2008, article in the ''Pittsburgh Post-Gazette'', Dimperio's Market, the only full-service grocery store in the Hazelwood (Pittsburgh), Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, closed because of shoplifters. Walgreens reported that it closed 10 stores in the San Francisco area between 2019 and 2020, primarily due to a surge in theft.


Consequences

Shoplifting is considered a form of theft and is subject to prosecution. Retailers may also ban from their premises individuals who have shoplifted from stores.


United States

In most cases in the United States, store employees and managers have certain powers of arrest. Store officials may detain for investigation (for a reasonable length of time), the person who they have probable cause to believe is attempting to take or has unlawfully taken merchandise (see shopkeeper's privilege). Store employees may also have citizen's arrest powers, but absent a statute granting broader authority a citizen's arrest power is normally available only for felony offenses, while shoplifting is usually a misdemeanor offense. In the United States, store employees who detain suspects outside of and inside the store premises are generally granted limited powers of arrest by state law, and have the power to initiate criminal arrests or civil sanctions, or both, depending upon the policy of the retailer and the state statutes governing Civil recovery, civil demands and civil recovery for shoplifting as reconciled with the criminal laws of the jurisdiction.


England and Wales

In England and Wales, an offence involving shoplifting may be charged under Section 1 of the Theft Act 1986; alternatively, if the goods stolen are worth less than £200, a person may be charged under Section 176 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act. Upon conviction, the maximum penalty is a fine or up to six months in prison if the goods stolen are worth less than £200; if they are worth more than £200, the maximum penalty is seven years in prison.


Middle East

In the Islamic legal system called Sharia, "hudud" (meaning limits or restrictions) calls for "Sariqa" (theft) to be punished by amputation of the thief's hand. This punishment is categorized as "hadd", meaning a punishment that restrains or prevents further crime. Sariqa is interpreted differently in different countries and by different scholars, and some say it does not include shoplifting. But, in Saudi Arabia shoplifters' hands may be amputated.


Prevention

Shoplifting may be prevented and detected. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring is an important anti-shoplifting technology. Electronic article surveillance (EAS) is another method of inventory protection. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an anti-employee-theft and anti-shoplifting technology used in retailers such as Walmart, which already heavily use RFID technology for inventory purposes. Loss prevention personnel can consist of both uniformed officers and plain-clothed store detectives. Large department stores will use both and smaller stores will use one or the other depending on their shrink strategy. Store detectives will patrol the store acting as if they are real shoppers. Physical measures include implementing a one-way entry and exit system, protected with devices such as "shark teeth" gates to ensure trolleys can only pass through one way. The presence of uniformed officers acts as a deterrent to shoplifting activity and they are mostly used by high-end retail establishments. Shoppers in some stores are asked when leaving the premises to have their purchases checked against the receipt. Some expensive merchandise will be in a locked case requiring an employee to get items at a customer's request. The customer is required to purchase the merchandise immediately, or it is left at the checkout area for the customer to purchase when finishing shopping. Many stores also lock CDs, DVDs, and video games in locking cases, which can only be opened by the checkout operator once the item has gone through the checkout. Some stores will use dummy cases, also known as "dead boxes", in which the box or case on the shelf is entirely empty and the customer will not be given the item they have paid for until the transaction has been completed, usually by other store staff. Security guards are generally given the following criteria that must be met before apprehending a shoplifting suspect: * You must see the shoplifter approach the merchandise; select the merchandise; and conceal, convert or carry away the merchandise. * You must maintain continuous observation of the shoplifter. * You must observe the shoplifter leave the store and fail to pay for the merchandise. * You must apprehend the shoplifter outside the store. Many stores will put up signs warning about the consequences of shoplifting or signs warning about the use of surveillance cameras in the store. That is intended to deter people from trying to shoplift.


Closed-circuit television

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring is an important anti-shoplifting technology. Retailers focusing on loss prevention often devote most of their resources to this technology. Using CCTVs to apprehend shoplifters in the act requires full-time human monitoring of the cameras. Sophisticated CCTV systems discriminate the scenes to detect and segregate suspicious behaviour from numerous screens and to enable automatic alerting. However, the attentiveness of the surveillance personnel may be threatened by false reliance on automatics. CCTV is more effective if used in conjunction with electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems. The EAS system will warn of a potential shoplifter and the video may provide evidence for prosecution if the shoplifter is allowed to pass checkout points or leave store premises with unbought merchandise. Many stores will use public-view monitors in the store to show people there that they are being recorded. That is intended as a deterrent to shoplifting. Some stores use inexpensive dummy cameras. Even though these fake cameras cannot record images, their presence may deter shoplifting.


Electronic article surveillance

Electronic article surveillance (EAS) are magnetic or radio-frequency tags that sound an alarm if a shoplifter leaves a store with store items that have not been paid for. EAS methods are second only to CCTV in popularity amongst retailers looking for inventory protection. EAS refers to the electronic security tags that are attached to merchandise and cause an alarm to sound on exiting the store. Some stores also have detection systems at the entrance to the bathrooms that sound an alarm if someone tries to take unpaid merchandise with them into the bathroom. Regularly, even when an alarm does sound, a shoplifter walks out casually and is not confronted if no guards are present because of the high number of false alarms, especially in malls, due to "tag pollution" whereby non-deactivated tags from other stores set off the alarm. This can be overcome with newer systems and a properly trained staff. Some new systems either do not alarm from "tag pollution" or they produce a specific alarm when a customer enters the store with a non-deactivated tag so that store personnel can remove or deactivate it so it does not produce a false alarm when exiting the store. However, spider wrap may be used instead of tags. Some tags are stuck onto merchandise with glue (rather than being superimposed on) the shoplifter can easily scrape off the tag in their pocket. Pedestal EAS covers, which are made of durable vinyl, offer cost-effective means of adding a marketing tool at every entrance to a store; they are also custom-manufactured to fit any pedestal and can be printed to highlight specific brands or seasonal promotions. They do not interfere with the performance of the EAS systems and are easily cleaned or changed. Some shoplifters may employ Radio jamming, jammer devices to prevent EAS tags from triggering, or magnets to remove the tags. Stores may employ technology to detect jammers and magnets. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an anti-employee-theft and anti-shoplifting technology used in retailers such as Walmart, which already heavily use RFID technology for inventory purposes. If a product with an active RFID tag passes the exit scanners at a Walmart outlet, not only does it set off an alarm, but it also tells security personnel exactly what product to look for in the shopper's cart. Add-on metal detector systems will be used in some stores with electronic article surveillance which sense metallic surfaces. They are used to deter the use of booster bags which are used to shield EAS tags.


Staff roles

Store detectives can patrol the store wearing plainclothes and act as if they are real shoppers. They may browse, examine, carry, or even try on merchandise, while looking for signs of shoplifting and looking for possible shoplifters. Many large retail companies use that technique. Store detectives will watch a shoplifting suspect conceal an item, then stop them after they have exited the store. Those types of personnel must follow a strict set of rules because of very high liability risks. Many large retail or grocery stores have a store detective to watch for shoplifters. Most of those stores use secret verbal codes over the PA system to alert management, other loss prevention personal, and associates that there is a shoplifter. Store detectives must follow a suspect around the store by foot or by watching video monitors and observe every move the person makes so that they do not face a lawsuit for apprehending or arresting the wrong person. The presence of uniformed
security guard #REDIRECT Security guard#REDIRECT Security guard A security guard (also known as a security inspector, security officer, or protective agent) is a person employed by a government or private party to protect the employing party's assets (property ...
s acts as a deterrent to shoplifting activity. Guards are mostly used by high-end retail establishments such as jewellery stores and camera and electronics stores, but are also used by other retailers. Floor attendants greet customers, follow them as they walk about the store, and offer help with shopping. Shoplifters are not comfortable with this attention and may go somewhere else where they can steal unnoticed. In a 2008 global study conducted by NRMA, it found shoplifters are 68 percent less likely to commit the offense if they are greeted immediately as they walk into the retail store. Some stores have an employee work at the fitting rooms. The employee will count how many clothes a person brings into the fitting rooms and ensure that they come out with the same number of clothes. This is to prevent people from using the fitting rooms to shoplift.


Exit inspections

Shoppers in some stores are asked when leaving the premises to have their purchases checked against the receipt. Costco and Best Buy are companies that employ this tactic. However, that is voluntary, as the store cannot legally detain the shopper unless they have probable cause to suspect the shopper of shoplifting. In the United States, shoppers are under no actual obligation to accede to such a search unless the employee has reasonable grounds to suspect shoplifting and arrests the customer or takes or looks at the receipt from the customer without violating any laws or if the customer has signed a membership agreement which stipulates that customers will subject themselves to inspections before taking the purchased merchandise from the store. In the cases of Sam's Club and Costco, the contracts merely say that it is their policy to check receipts at the exit or that they "reserve the right." That wording does not specify the results of non-compliance by the customer, and since they did not have a right to re-check receipts in the first place, it may not be legally binding at all. The purchaser who holds the receipt owns the merchandise. Employees who harass, assault, touch, or detain customers or take their purchased merchandise may be committing torts or crimes against the customers. Bottom-of-basket mirrors are commonly used in grocery stores where the checkout lanes are close together and the cashier might be unable to see the entire basket to ensure payment of all items.


Display cases

Some expensive merchandise will be in a locked case requiring an employee to get items at a customer's request. The customer is either required to purchase the merchandise immediately or it is left at the checkout register (under the supervision of a cashier) for the customer to purchase when finished shopping. This prevents the customer from having a chance to conceal the item. Another way of locking merchandise, especially popular in liquor stores, is to place it in a secure, store-administered hard-plastic cap on a regular bottle top. Once purchased the clerk will remove the cap with a store key. It is not otherwise easily removable. Many stores also lock CDs, DVDs, and video games in locking cases, which can only be opened by the checkout operator once the item has gone through the checkout. Many stores have certain items on locking pegs which are secure hooks to where the item cannot be removed from the hook. Some stores will use dummy cases, also known as "dead boxes", where the box or case on the shelf is entirely empty and the customer will not be given the item they have paid for until the transaction has been completed, usually by other store staff. Some stores have been known to take this idea further by filling the dummy cases or boxes with a weight, similar to the weight of the actual item by using a weight made to fit inside the box. This causes the shoplifter to think that the box is full, trying to steal it and ending up with nothing. This was especially popular in movie rental stores such as Blockbuster Video.


Retail bag check exit policy

A retail bag check exit policy is a form policy or management procedure or set of standard guidelines or rules for customers/consumer set in place by a store owner or manager or owner of the store. In some retail stores such as JB Hi-Fi, customers are randomly asked, instructed, or requested or subject to present their personal bags for inspection by a staff or security guard or loss prevention associate when leaving the store on condition of entry. Additionally, some stores such as JB Hi-Fi, BestBuy and Costco add a measure and process of conducting receipt inspection to make sure the customer is purchasing the correct item. There is another theft scheme, in which people can conceal items and then only pay for one item. Normally this is either done by customers or employees. Loss prevention/security guards would normally only ask for a bag check. The purpose is to reduce and decrease retail theft and shoplifting.


Notable cases

In 1897, accused murderer Lizzie Borden again received media attention when she was accused of shoplifting. In 1937, French writer and political activist Jean Genet was arrested in Paris for shoplifting a dozen handkerchiefs from the department store Samaritaine. Genet frequently stole from shops throughout his life, including alcohol, bolts of linen, books and suits. In 1966, Hedy Lamarr was arrested for shoplifting in Los Angeles. The charges were eventually dropped. In 1991, she was arrested on the same charge in Florida, this time for $21.48 worth of laxatives and eye drops. She pleaded "no contest" to avoid a court appearance, and in return for a promise to refrain from breaking any laws for a year, the charges were once again dropped. In 1980, Lady Isobel Barnett, British radio and television personality, was found guilty of shoplifting and committed suicide four days later. In 2001, actress Winona Ryder was arrested for shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills, California. Ryder was eventually convicted of misdemeanor theft and vandalism and became eligible for expungement of the conviction after finishing probation in 2005. Ryder was originally convicted by a jury of felony larceny/vandalism and was sentenced in a nationally televised California Superior Court proceeding in December 2002. In August 2010, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's daughter Caroline Giuliani was arrested for stealing five beauty items worth about $100 from a Sephora store in Manhattan. She was later offered a dismissal in return for a day of community service and six months without a further offense. In 2012, British chef and TV presenter Antony Worrall Thompson was arrested for shoplifting "...three onions and two pots of...coleslaw from a branch of Tesco" and "...received a caution" from authorities.


See also

* Book store shoplifting * Civil recovery * Dine and dash * ''Evasion (book), Evasion'', an autobiography detailing one man's shoplifting and dumpster diving-supported travels * Exit control lock * Fence (criminal) * Kleptomania * Larceny * Library theft * Loss prevention * Organized retail crime * Package pilferage * Receipt of stolen property * Retail loss prevention * Sweethearting * Yomango


References


Further reading


Books

* * * * * Cupchik, Will (2013) * * * * * * * * *


Articles

* {{Citation, last=Cupchik, first=W., author2=Atcheson D. J., title=Shoplifting: An Occasional Crime of the Moral Majority, journal=Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, year=1983, volume=11, issue=4, pages=343–54, pmid=6661563, postscript=.
Yomango "Shoplifting as Social Commentary" by Robert Andrews
Theft Crimes Property crimes Retailing-related crime Organized crime activity