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Why Do People Shoplift?



Shoplifting is a common crime seen across the United States every day. Studies show that theft in retail stores has led to an estimated loss of $45 billion per year in revenue. To understand why this is occurring, we can look into the psychology and factors driving this crime. If you are under investigation for shoplifting hire a criminal lawyer to evaluate your case.

Lack of Money

One of the most common reasons people shoplift is because they cannot afford not to. With rising inflation and prices for everyday necessities becoming more expensive, it can become pressuring to steal items from stores to survive. In addition shoplifting expensive items can be resold, with criminals profiting off of these stolen goods. This issue is a greater symptom of rising homelessness, class disparity and inequality, especially in urban environments. Combined with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, law enforcement has been incredibly lenient on shoplifting. Many large corporations believe they have bigger issues to handle than petty theft, and in many cases, shoplifters are allowed to get away with the crime.


Others argue that shoplifting is seen as a form of protest. Media and pop culture glamorize shoplifting, and the crime is common in youth culture. Stealing can be seen as an early sign of youthful disobedience and rebellion. The idea that it is cool to steal has been around for decades, and continues to affect businesses today. Many radicals who are against capitalistic businesses shoplift in protest to these rules. Some see shoplifting as “sticking it to the man,” an act of heroism. With class disparity in America, and particularly in the San-Francisco Bay Area visible throughout its streets, some see themselves as bringing balance to this issue through shoplifting. Its the classic tale of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

Mental Illness

Research has proven that shoplifting can become addicting. Kleptomania is a condition where people might steal out of pure compulsion, even if the individual doesnt even need the item. Other mental illnesses that encourage stealing behaviors may include bipolar disorder, anxiety, and severe depression.

Entertainment and Community

It is a common misconception that shoplifting is only done by those who are financially insecure, stealing the items they cannot afford. While this is true in some cases, further research suggests that more than just those in need shoplift.

Recent research into shoplifting indicates that many financially stable people, and even wealthy individuals, shoplift purely to entertain themselves and form a community amongst others like them. Frequently, people see it as an adventure to steal something worth little money for pure adrenaline. Shoplifting can cause an increase in serotonin, which can make people want to do it again. In social gatherings, some wealthy criminals will boast about their shoplifting ventures.


If you own a business victim of these crimes, you should contact a criminal lawyer and ask for advice to counter this situation. The lack of statistics in this field is adding to the increased shoplifting. Find a workable method that does not harm your business simultaneously.



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