Shoplifting is one of those things that people may not talk about a lot, but the statistics certainly show that people are engaging in the activity. It’s much more common than a lot of people — both store owners and consumers — actually realize.
According to one study, just under 10% (1 out of every 11) people shoplift. Even these statistics could be too low. It’s hard to get accurate numbers. Those asked if they’ve done so in polls may not always be honest, and any statistics based on arrests are just showing how many people got caught, not how many opted to steal something.
There is no profile that fits
Store owners and law enforcement officers may try to create profiles for potential shoplifters. They may assume that young people steal more, for instance, or that people of a specific race or economic status are more likely to steal. They try to identify these individuals in advance.
This is problematic, as stereotyping like this can lead to poor decisions and unwarranted assumptions. Experts are very careful to warn that there are no profiles. Just the fact that shoplifting is so common helps to support that. Anyone could do it, just as anyone could be an honest shopper who never steals anything.
Another important question to ask is how many of those who are branded as shoplifters just made a mistake. For instance, some people like to carry items in their pockets when shopping. This isn’t illegal. If they accidentally walk out with some item forgotten deep in a pocket, though, it can appear they are trying to steal. In all honesty, they may have paid for everything else and simply forgotten that final item. Is shoplifting so common because these types of honest accidents are being counted?
What options do you have?
Have you been accused of shoplifting? Maybe it was an honest mistake. Maybe you were just profiled. There are lots of potential complications with allegations like this, and it is important for you to know what legal options you have, no matter what happened.