Why Shoplifting Is Wrong
Shoplifting is the criminal action of stealing goods from a shop while pretending to be a customer. It is considered to be a form of theft and subject to prosecution. Criminal theft involves taking possession of property illegally without paying for it. Shoplifting, also known as larceny, is the act of taking away property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. It involves taking the advantage of other hardworking people. The stores have to buy equipment to prevent shoplifting and the consumers have to pay for the items stolen so it can be replaced. I never knew how much of a problem shoplifting caused.
Shoplifters steal from all kinds of stores including small shops, grocery stores, superstores, thrift shops, department stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and many more. People hide items by concealing them in their clothing, in handbags, baby strollers, newspapers, or umbrellas. A group of usually two or three people walk into a store with a plan. The plan might include one of the people to distract the dressing room attendant while others walk off with stolen clothing or other stolen items. Shoplifters have come up with ridiculous ideas on how they can steal goods. People mostly steal wine, makeup, fashion accessories, swimwear, sunglasses, electronics, videogames, and power tools. According to the NASP, more than $13 billion dollars’ worth of goods are stolen in stores all over the United States in a year. Every day people steal around $35 million. Only 10 million of shoplifters actually get caught. Half of those people are turned over to the police for prosecution. Shoplifting is an epidemic that is occurring all over America.
Many people steal because of financial and/or emotional issues. People often steal because they do not have the money for the item. Sometimes people steal to meet their basic needs of food and clothing. In other circumstances, kids and teens feel pressured by friends or peers into shoplifting. They are influenced to believe that in order to fit in and be liked by a certain person or group of people, they need to steal. People who are contending with depression or anger issues often find a comforting effect from stealing. Other shoplifters steal just for the thrill of it. These kinds of shoplifters like the rush of adrenaline that stealing brings. People who experience this feeling cannot resist the urge to steal. People who are diagnosed with kleptomania can’t resist the urge to steal. Kleptomania is an impulse control disorder that results in an irresistible urge to steal. Kleptomaniacs often feel an anxiety or pressure increase until they take an item. This disorder can be controlled with therapy and medication.
Shoplifting is our nation’s “silent crime”. Parents don’t want to believe it, schools don’t want to get involved with it, and consumers don’t address it according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP). People who do shoplift feel that it is no big deal or are too ashamed or afraid to admit it. They think that stealing is easy and that they can get away with it at any time. These people’s habits of stealing grow because they were never caught for what they were doing wrong. This leads to more confidence because they think that it’s no big deal or that it’s not that important. What they don’t realize is that the motive behind their actions are bad. Every action has a motive and a consequence, whether it will be good or bad ones.
Shoplifting can affect more than just the consumers. Many people who shoplift don’t know the effect that shoplifting has on the world’s economy and family. These kinds of people generally are split into two categories: professional and amateur shoplifters. Shoplifting hurts more than just the business that is stolen from. It creates a domino effect. It affects the business, consumers, friends and family. Shoplifting negatively impacts the economy if businesses are forced close their doors because of continual losses. It impacts the family by putting stress on the parents. Trust is also broken. This can be gained back with patience, attentiveness, and hard work.
There are many consequences of shoplifting. If someone is legally an adult and they shoplift he/she could potentially go to jail. First, they would be led to the back of the store and told to wait there. Second, they could be banned from going there again. Third, the store manager would probably call the police. From there, the police will hand the person over to court to decide whether or not to send the person to jail. Depending on the cost of the item stolen, the fine could consist of somewhere between $500 and $1000. If someone is underage, then they could be fined, banned from the store and might have to do community service. They often go to a Civil Recovery class.
There are even more severe consequences of shoplifting. When people shoplift, they risk getting their crime on their permanent record. This causes a problem when trying to get a job, admitted into college or serving as a volunteer. No one wants to hire someone with a criminal record of stealing. I did not realize that at the time, how much of an impact my actions affect the rest of my life. I know now how wrong I was and how my mistake has affected a lot of people.
The Bible has a lot to say about stealing. Ephesians 4:28 says “anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need”. Paul included a verse about stealing in a letter to Christians. We must first ask for forgiveness, ask Jesus into our hearts, and repent from stealing to overcome this sin. Stealing goes hand-in-hand with lying. To cover up a stolen item, a person must lie to help keep it hidden. Therefore, stealing or shoplifting is considered more than just one little sin. When we commit one sin, we don’t realize that more sins are sure to follow. I like to call this pattern, “digging a hole”. Think of a hole in the ground, for example. When a person commits a sin, he must cover it up with lies. Each time he lies, that hole gets deeper.