Monday, November 28, 2005

WHY DO PEOPLE SHOPLIFT?



Actress Winona Ryder was convicted of shoplifting.

More than 3.5 million people have admitted shoplifting in the past five years, according to new research. What do they take? For some it is an addiction, for others a job or a spur-of-the-moment thing, but hundreds of thousands of Brits do it each year. Almost 700,000 people admit shoplifting every year and take £13m worth of goods, according to a survey commissioned by Group 4 Securicor. Each person took an average of £105 worth of goods, with supermarkets regarded as the easiest place for shoplifting by 21% of people, followed by garden and DIY centres. But what do they take?
Professor Martin Gill, director of the University of Leicester Scarman Centre, says what people steal can depend on whether it is for personal use or to sell. Razor blades, air fresheners, batteries, CDs, DVDs, electronic gaming and music equipment and alcohol are cited by offenders as good items to sell on, according to his research. Also cheese, meat and other foodstuffs, all of which can be exchanged for cash very quickly. And while there is no absolute rule, those who steal to sell on are likely to steal much larger quantities of product than those stealing for themselves.
He says the acronym CRAVED is used to explain the product characteristics most likely to influence a thief's decision about what to steal. It stands for concealable, removable, available, valued, enjoyed and disposable. Although the most commonly stolen items are razor blades, the survey suggests that on average the value of the single most expensive item that people have stolen is £35, while 5% of people have stolen items worth more than £50.
Kevin Hawkins, the director general of the British Retail Consortium, says shoplifting remained a serious problem for retailers and society as a whole. "Retail crime has significant demoralising effects on shop owners and their staff, especially as theft is increasingly accompanied byviolence, threats and verbal abuse. Shop theft is frequently a 'gateway' to more serious offences."
BBC Magazine.

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