“Fear-mongering or Fact-Checking? Uncovering the Truth Behind the Shoplifting Surge.
Retail is an ever-evolving industry, and it's no surprise that shoplifting continues to be a major concern for retailers. Recent media reports are suggesting that fears of a surge in shoplifting are on the rise, but are these valid worries or just irrational panic? One argument being offered is based on the fact that crime rates have been falling for many years, coupled with the assumption that areas with higher unemployment result in higher levels of shoplifting. To some extent this is probably true, but it doesn't explain why shoplifting continues to rise in certain areas that are faring better economically. Another argument put forward is that the rise in online shopping has led to a decrease in foot traffic in stores, and this leads to fewer employees on hand to deter shoplifters. While this could indeed be true, more recent research suggests that the increase in shoplifting may instead be due to new technology, such as self-checkout lanes, which make it easier for shoplifters to steal merchandise. Finally, some analysts are saying that the rise in shoplifting is a result of the current economic climate. The logic behind this argument is that with more people out of work and facing financial hardship, the temptation to shoplift is greater. This is a valid point, but other research suggests that the rising rate of shoplifting may have more to do with retailers’ own lax security measures and a general decrease in monitoring of shoplifting activity. So are fears of a surge in shoplifting running away from the facts? It appears that this is the case, as research suggests that it’s a combination of technological advancements, lax security measures, and economic hardship that are driving the increase in shoplifting. It's also important to remember that this is an ongoing problem and retailers must stay vigilant in their efforts to prevent shoplifting.