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Is shoplifting on the uptick?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If you watch the news, you might believe that we are currently experiencing a huge wave of shoplifting and other retail theft. But is that actually true?

For those who live in large cities on both coasts, there does appear to be an increase in theft from retail stores like Target and some higher-end merchants. But what about Midwestern states like Ohio?

There is no evidence of a major trend upwards

It does not appear that the majority of the United States is experiencing a large increase in the number of retail theft crimes. In fact, incidents of shoplifting in most cities typically declined about 7% percent in the past five years.

Why do retailers blame shoplifting?

For one thing, inflation has reduced some consumer spending, affecting retailers’ bottom lines. That makes them hyper focused on reasons for their declining profits — and blaming shoplifters rather than their own higher prices can be a convenient (if fallacious) narrative.

There is also social media to blame. Most people have seen videos of gangs of shoplifters descending on retailers and making off with armloads of clothing and other goods, some of which have four-digit price tags. But again, most of these incidents have occurred in cities like Los Angeles and New York City.

Stores may be hyper vigilant with declining sales

A third factor is that with fewer sales being rung up at the register, store owners and managers are desperate to eliminate any shrinkage that might be occurring. They may hire more loss prevention officers or adopt more aggressive policies to deter shoplifters.

What happens if you face shoplifting charges? 

In the current economic climate, you could wind up charged with shoplifting. If arrested by the police, remain compliant but exercise your right to remain silent until you have sought legal guidance.