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Why do people shoplift?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2023 | Criminal Law

Not everyone who steals from a store does so out of necessity. As surprising as it may seem, a lot of shoplifters can afford the items they steal; some of them are even wealthy. Though a few individuals may shoplift simply to put food on the table, others do it for the thrill or as a coping mechanism for mental health difficulties.

To get them through financial difficulties

Many find it difficult to accept that they are struggling financially. Instead of coming to terms with their situation, they want to continue obtaining luxuries they cannot afford, and retail theft is one way to do that.

However, there are also those who shoplift because of desperation. Many of these individuals feel they have nowhere to turn to. They may occasionally take essentials like food or diapers for their families.

To live a life of crime

Over the past few years, there has been a rise in the number of stolen goods sold in online marketplaces. Shoplifters can make thousands selling stolen high-ticket items like electronics, mobile phones and designer handbags. Though the authorities believe organized crime groups are mostly responsible, petty shoplifters may be playing a part by selling products they lifted for a quick profit.

To cope with their mental health struggles

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can lead people to act in ways they would normally not. As many as 30% of first-time offenders caught shoplifting show evidence of clinical depression.

They are aware that shoplifting is wrong, yet they continue to do it because it satisfies an urge or gives them a sense of control. However, without treating their mental health concerns, the individual may struggle to stop and find themselves in legal trouble.

Most shoplifters do not fit the stereotype of a lawless person. Many of them are well educated or religious, yet they struggle much emotionally or psychologically. But repeated arrests for shoplifting may result in harsh penalties, including hefty fines and extended periods of jail time.

Shoplifting is a serious issue that needs professional help. If the shoplifter finds themselves in legal trouble, they may consult a lawyer for advice.