The Reasons People Shoplift



If you own or operate a retail store or other type of business that sells goods to the public, about one out of every 10 people who enter your establishment having shoplifting on their mind. If you haven’t made theft prevention a high priority at your place of business, your company’s profits could literally be walking out the door. In this post, we’ll explore the various reasons why people steal and provide a list of some of the most shoplifted items.

Why Do People Shoplift?

To implement an effective theft prevention system at your business, it’s helpful to understand why people feel compelled to steal. Contrary to what many people believe, most shoplifters do not steal to satisfy a physical need or due to a lack of financial resources. In most cases, a psychological compulsion or mental illness is the driving force behind shoplifting. Approximately one-third of shoplifters suffer from depression, and many shoplifters are diagnosed with kleptomania, which is a recurrent, irresistible urge to steal.

What Are the Most Stolen Items?

The most common items targeted by thieves include:

  • Meat: Expensive cuts of meat are a primary shoplifting target in grocery stores — it’s relatively easy to conceal a steak underneath a jacket or slip it inside an oversized pocketbook.
  • Alcohol: Teenagers often shoplift bottles of liquor since they are not of legal age to purchase it in most states. Peer pressure and the “thrill” of breaking the law are common motivators in many teenage liquor thefts, and kleptomaniacs who are also experiencing alcohol dependency issues often target the more expensive booze items.
  • Electronic gadgets: Small electronic gadgets and devices are a major shoplifting target in electronics stores and mass merchandisers that do not keep them under lock and key. Their small size makes them easy to conceal.
  • Over-the-counter medications and personal care items: Most OTC drugs, as well as personal care items such as razor blades, deodorant, toothbrushes, etc. come in small packages, making it simple to slide them into jacket pockets or purses.
  • High-end clothing: The theft of high-end clothing is on the rise in many retail outlets, particularly expensive sneakers. The most brazen thieves will try the clothing on in a fitting room and then attempt to walk out the door undetected.
  • Trendy toys: It seems that every holiday season there is at least one extremely popular toy that hits the market — and becomes of a prime shoplifting target.
  • Tools: Many types of tools, especially power tools, are coveted by thieves in hardware and home improvement stores.

Make an Advanced Security System a Key Component of Your Business Protection Plan

Installing a state-of-the-art security system is an important business safety step that will limit your shoplifting exposure. If you operate a business in the Phoenix, AZ area, Titan Alarm can design and install a customized system that includes video surveillance and other valuable theft prevention features. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation security consultation today.


Learn More About Commercial Video Surveillance

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.