Understanding shoplifting of fast-moving consumer goods: an application of the CRAVED model
This study examines the variation in theft of shoplifted fast-moving consumer goods. Typically, shoplifting is estimated using shrinkage—a composite of several causes of lost retail merchandise. This study, however, benefits from access to a retailer’s database, in which extraordinary steps are taken to identify and record losses due to shoplifting only. This study is unique because of the more valid measure of shoplifting. A 1-year cross-sectional sample of 7468 products, sold in 204 U.S. chain supermarkets, was drawn from the retailer’s specialized database. Using Clarke’s (Hot products: understanding, anticipating, and reducing demand for stolen goods. Policing and Reducing Crime Unit, Paper 112, Home Office, London, 1999) CRAVED model of theft, products’ theft rates were correlated to the attributes consistent with the most vulnerable targets of theft. The results show that theft rates of products were significantly correlated to the measures for CRAVED. Regression analysis indicated that the measures for CRAVED were significant predictors of theft. Specifically, products were stolen more often when they were more Concealable, less Available, more Valuable, Enjoyable, and more Disposable. The most frequently stolen types of products were several types of cosmetics—primarily small but expensive products (e.g., eye, nail, lip products). Additionally, electronics, toys, and games had high theft rates. Implications for retailers, manufacturers, and governments are discussed. Suggestions for further research are also considered.
KeywordsShoplifting Shop theft CRAVED Hot products Fast-moving consumer goods Loss prevention
Many thanks are due to Ron Clarke for his considerable advice and guidance. The retailer is sincerely thanked for allowing access to their unique and valuable database. Robert Chase is thanked for helping to focus the paper early-on. The peer reviewers and editors are thanked for helping to improve the content of the paper.
- Baker, S. 2003. An analysis of timber trespass and theft issues in the southern Appalachian region, MSc thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA.Google Scholar
- Bamfield, J. 2012a. The tenth edition: Key findings from the global retail theft barometer 2011. Nottingham: Centre for Retail Research.Google Scholar
- Beck, A. 2010. Identifying the top 50 hot products in the fast-moving consumer goods sector in the UK. Brussels: ECR Europe.Google Scholar
- Blanco, C., J. Grant, N. Petry, H. Simpson, A. Alegria, S.M. Liu, and D. Hasin. 2008. Prevalence and correlates of shoplifting in the United States: Results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. American Journal of Psychiatry 165 (7): 905–913.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Brantingham, P.J., and P.L. Brantingham. 1991. Environmental criminology. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
- British Retail Consortium. 2014. BRC Retail Crime Survey 2013. http://www.brc.org.uk/ePublications/BRC_Retail_Crime_Survey_2013. Accessed 21 Sept 2016.
- Clarke, R.V. 1999. Hot products: Understanding, anticipating and reducing demand for stolen goods. Policing and Reducing Crime Unit, Paper 112. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
- Clarke, R.V., and G. Newman, eds. 2005. Designing out crime from products and systems. Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 18. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.Google Scholar
- Clarke, R.V., and G. Petrossian. 2012. The problem of shoplifting, 2nd edn. Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, Problem-Specific Guides Series, No. 11. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.Google Scholar
- Cushman & Wakefield. 2016. The fast-moving consumer goods sector. http://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/sectors/fast-moving-consumer-goods. Accessed 2 Oct 2016.
- Gill, M., T. Burns-Howell, M. Hemming, J. Hart, R. Hayes, A. Wright, and R. Clarke. 2004. The illicit market in stolen fast-moving consumer goods: A global impact study. Leicester: Perpetuity Research and Consultancy International Ltd.Google Scholar
- Gill, M., and R.V. Clarke. 2012. Slowing thefts of fast-moving goods. In Design against crime: Crime proofing everyday products, ed. P. Ekblom. Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 27, 229–238. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
- Global Retail Theft Barometer (GRTB). 2015. The new barometer 2014–2015. Thorofare, NJ: Checkpoint Systems Inc.Google Scholar
- Hollinger, R., and A. Adams. 2008. 2007 National Retail Security Survey. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida.Google Scholar
- Johnson, S.D., A. Sidebottom, and A. Thorpe. 2008. Bicycle theft. Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, Problem-Specific Guides Series, No. 52. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.Google Scholar
- Johnson, S.D., K.J. Bowers, L. Gamman, L. Mamerow, and A. Warne. 2010. Theft of customers’ personal property in cafés and bars. Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, Problem-Specific Guides Series, No. 60. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.Google Scholar
- Lasky, N.V., B.S. Fisher, and S. Jacques. 2015. ‘Thinking thief’ in the crime prevention arms race: Lessons learned from shoplifters. Security Journal. doi: 10.1057/sj.2015.21. Accessed 4 Oct 2016.
- Natarajan, M. 2012. A rational choice analysis of organized crime and trafficked goods. In The reasoning criminologist: Essays in honour of Ronald V. Clarke, ed. N. Tilley, and G. Farrell, 194–204. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- National Association of Shoplifting (NASP). 2006. Shoplifting statistics. http://www.shopliftingprevention.org/what-we-do/learning-resource-center/statistics. Accessed 5 Oct 2016.
- Smith, B.T. 2013. Differential shoplifting risks of fast-moving consumer goods, Doctoral dissertation, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ.Google Scholar
- Smith, B.T. 2014. Shoplifting. In Encyclopedia of social deviance, ed. C.J. Forsyth, and H. Copes, 643–645. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Smith, B.T., and J.L. Schneider. 2014. Stolen goods markets. In The Encyclopedia of criminology and criminal justice, ed. J.S. Albanese, 1–5. Wiley: Hoboken, NJ.Google Scholar
- Stevenson, R., and L. Forsythe. 1998. Stolen goods market in New South Wales: An interview study with imprisoned burglars. Sydney: New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.Google Scholar
- Sutton, M. 1998. Handling stolen goods and theft: A market reduction approach. Home Office Research Study 178. London, UK: Home Office.Google Scholar
- Sutton, M. 2008. How prolific thieves sell stolen goods: Describing, understanding, and tackling the local markets in Mansfield and Nottingham: A market reduction approach study. Internet Journal of Criminology. http://www.internetjournalofcriminology.com. Accessed 2 Sept 2016.
- Sutton, M. (2010) Stolen Goods Markets. Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, Problem-Specific Guides Series, No. 57. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.Google Scholar
- Sutton, M., J. Schneider, and S. Hetherington. 2001. Tackling theft with the market reduction approach. Crime Reduction Unit, Paper No. 8. London, UK: Home Office.Google Scholar
- U.S. Congress, House of Representatives. 2005. The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. H.R. 3199. 109th Congress, 1st Session.Google Scholar