The holidays may be over but the retail bonanza will continue through the end of the year, along with high rates of shoplifting attempts. Shoplifting defies a lot of criminal norms, including the fact that there is no standard profile for a shoplifter. Here are some surprising facts about those who commit the crime, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention:
- There are 27 million shoplifters nationwide. This means 1 in 11 people have committed the crime. An estimated 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.
- Most are adults, but they started as kids. Approximately 75% of people who shoplift are adults. However, 55% of them say they started in their teens.
- Few are professional shoplifters. Only 3% of shoplifters steal solely for resale or profit. That percentage includes drug addicts who steal to feed their habit, hardened professionals who steal as a lifestyle, and gangs who steal for profit as a business. The majority of shoplifters steal in response to social and personal pressures.
- Shoplifting is rarely planned. Most shoplifters (73%) don’t plan to steal in advance. In fact, many shoplifters buy and steal merchandise in the same visit.
- Stealing gives a rush. The excitement generated from getting away with it produces what shoplifters describe as a rush or high. Many insist this high is the incentive to steal, rather than the merchandise itself. Drug addicts have even described shoplifting as equally addicting as drugs.
- It’s hard to break the habit. Nearly 60% of adults and 33% of juveniles say it is hard to stop shoplifting even after getting caught. Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week.
- The majority of shoplifters aren’t habitual criminals. Non-professional shoplifters rarely commit other types of crimes and their criminal activity is generally restricted to shoplifting.
Shoplifting affects more than the offender. It overburdens the police and the courts and also adds to a store’s security expenses, which impacts the price of goods. In addition, communities suffer through lost sales taxes.
Penalties for shoplifting depend on the total cost of the stolen goods. The majority of cases involve merchandise worth $200 or less. In that case, a shoplifter could face to up 10 days in jail for a first-time offense. For more expensive goods, shoplifting could lead to harsher consequences, including up to 10 years in prison plus $100,000 in fines. Individuals convicted of shoplifting can also be found liable for reimbursing the cost of the merchandise as well as the legal fees for the merchant.
In addition to legal advice, chronic shoplifters may also need behavioral counseling. If you or a loved one has been arrested for shoplifting or for any other criminal offense in New Jersey, you need a skilled attorney who can get you the results you want. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced criminal defense attorneys who have helped many other people in similar situations. Email or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.