Some say it is due to depression, others attribute it to greed, even others say it is an obsession. Whatever the reason shoplifting is on the uptick this christmas. According to some sources, in the four weeks leading up to Christmas this year, an estimated $1.8 billion in merchandise will be stolen from stores in this country, that’s up about 6 percent from $1.7 billion during the same period in 2010.
Five finger discounts are common during the holidays. The crowded stores and harried clerks make it easier to slip a tablet computer into a purse or stuff a sweater under a coat undetected. But higher joblessness and falling wages have contributed to an even bigger rise this year. People steal everything from necessities (think food) to luxuries they can no longer afford (think electronics or Gucci purse).
“some people do actually have mental disorders that can explain the conduct” says Torrance Shoplifting Attorney Matt Ruff. However, many disagree. Some do it for a rush or thrill. For others, it’s about filling a void. Still others are trying to relieve anxiety, boredom or depression — all emotions that are particularly common during the holidays.
“Shoplifting is generally a crime of opportunity— and opportunities abound at the holiday,” says Barbara Staib, a spokeswoman for the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, a nonprofit that provides shoplifting prevention education programs. “The stressors that come with the holiday will certainly help them rationalize their need for bad behavior.”
Shoplifting is surprisingly common. An estimated one in 11 Americans shoplift, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. It bases its information on academic research and information from those who are ordered or choose to enter its counseling programs for shoplifters.
About 75 percent of shoplifters are adults — equally men and women — while kids make up about 25 percent of them. More than 70 percent of shoplifters say they did not plan ahead to steal and they acted spontaneously. In the Southbay, prosecutors take these crimes seriously so it is best to hire an attorney to go to Court for you.