It seems that with the recent pandemic, people are spread thin and money is tight. With this in mind, many are predicting a surge in shoplifting as people try to make ends meet. However, the truth of the matter may be far from the fear mongering that is often perpetuated.
A recent analysis of shoplifting arrests from the National Retail Federation indicates that shoplifting rates are actually down. After a rise of 6% in arrests from 2017 to 2018, shoplifting arrests dropped 4% for 2019. This suggests that fears of a surge in shoplifting due to economic hardship are baseless.
But why isn’t there an increase in shoplifting? It could be due to a few factors: first, people in poverty often lack the means to transport items they are looking to steal. Fewer people are using public transportation due to the pandemic, making it harder to go from store to store. Additionally, people in poverty tend to live in close proximity to stores, making detection more likely.
Furthermore, many retailers today use sophisticated surveillance systems to detect and prevent shoplifting. For instance, stores may install cameras or automated systems to flag shady behavior. At the same time, many stores are also beefing up their security staff, making it more risky to engage in shoplifting.
Of course, some people may still be engaging in shoplifting, but current evidence suggests the fear of a surge in shoplifting is likely exaggerated. While there are certainly those looking to take advantage of a difficult economic situation, the rise in shoplifting does not appear to be out of proportion with past numbers. Instead, it is likely that theft prevention tactics being employed by retailers are successfully helping to keep shoplifting in check.