Any Way to Prevent Shoplifting by Juveniles?

Are we fighting a losing battle when it comes to ways to prevent shoplifting by juveniles?

Teenagers are in a class by themselves when it comes to shoplifters.  Their motives and behaviors are very different from that of adults who commit the same crimes.

For ten years I was a volunteer facilitator for a shoplifting prevention class run by a county juvenile court system.  Teenaged shoplifters who had been caught shoplifting and were turned over to the justice system were required, along with their parents, to attend a three night seminar where the crime and impact of shoplifting was discussed and dissected.

One of the things I noticed about young shoplifters was that they rarely shoplifted alone as opposed to adults, who more often than not were by themselves.  That indicated to me that juveniles saw no shame in stealing from a store because they often had their friends as accomplices/witnesses to their acts.  Adults would never go up to one of their friends and say, “I just stole this blouse,” and smile and be proud of it.

It was very different in a classroom full of shoplifters and their parents.  During my introduction to the class on the first night, I would usually ask, “Will all the thieves in the room please raise your hands?  Very few hands went up which would lead into a discussion of exactly what shoplifting is (stealing is what thieves do, right?) and why stores want to prevent shoplifting from occurring.

When the young people were separated from their parents, many of them seemed to show little remorse.  Reasons for the act were “Everybody does it, I just got caught”, “Just wanted it”, to “I don’t know.”  They generally perceived the crime as victimless against a huge corporation who would never miss it.  After all, there are massive displays of merchandise, quite tempting to a young shoplifter, even those who would never think of stealing from an acquaintance or a stranger on the street.  That, and a relatively low chance of being caught.

So a change in perception of the crime through education would reduce the willingness of a teenager to participate in it, as would a large increase in the risk of being caught.

Retail anti theft devices such as EAS by Checkpoint Systems can have a great effect on an overall program to prevent shoplifting by throwing up a huge reminder to a potential shoplifter that the consequences of theft can be serious.

Call 866-914-2567 or click here to learn more ways to prevent shoplifting by everyone, not just juveniles.