Can We Ever Know Which Objects Thieves Most Desire? Lessons from Studying Shoplifted Fast-Moving Consumer Goods

  • Brian T. Smith
  • Ron V. Clarke
Part of the Crime Prevention and Security Management book series (CPSM)


The initial purpose of this research was to improve upon the explanatory power of an earlier analysis (Smith, Security Journal, 2017), which had used CRAVED variables to explain variation in theft of 7468 fast-moving consumer goods. We used Smith’s sample to develop three additional independent variables not measured by CRAVED. We found that the new regression model, which included these three variables, accounted for less variation in thefts than CRAVED alone had. We considered the possible reasons why improving on CRAVED as a predictor of theft choices might not be achievable, and concluded that, because of the precautions routinely taken by stores to prevent theft, theft data alone is a flawed measure of thieves’ preferences. Stores seeking to reduce shoplifting might be better served by examining the effectiveness of precautions than by seeking to improve predictions of targets. In a more speculative mode, we further generalized this argument to cover any form of victimization.


Shoplifting CRAVED Hot products Victim-blaming Victimization theory Routine precautions 



We thank the reviewers of the first draft of this chapter for their detailed suggestions, but more particularly for encouraging us to think broadly about the implications of our empirical findings.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian T. Smith
    • 1
  • Ron V. Clarke
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of New HavenWest HavenUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminal JusticeRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA

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