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Who Steals from Shops, and Why? A Case Study of Prolific Shop Theft Offenders

  • James Hunter
  • Laura Garius
  • Paul Hamilton
  • Azrini Wahidin
Chapter
Part of the Crime Prevention and Security Management book series (CPSM)

Abstract

Despite spending around £2bn on loss prevention, twenty-two percent of retail premises in the UK experienced shoplifting during 2014–2015, with theft by customers accounting for 72% of all crime suffered by the retail and wholesale sector (Home Office, Crime Against Businesses: Findings from the 2015 Commercial Victimisation Survey. London: Home Office, 2016). There remains, however, little data to reliably determine the characteristics of the perpetrators (Dabney, Hollinger, & Dugan, Justice Quarterly, 21, 693–728, 2004). This chapter therefore draws upon police recorded crime data between 2004–2014 in order to analyse the key characteristics of shop theft offenders in an English Core City. The narrative also examines the motivations of shop theft offenders, and their perceptions of retail security, based upon interviews conducted with some of the most prolific shop theft offenders within this city. The insights provided by these interviews reveal a group of individuals who perceive their crimes as ‘victimless’, and where the actions of the retailers in terms of the placement of products and layout of stores makes shoplifting ‘an unbelievably easy’ offence to commit.

Keywords

Shop theft Offenders Motivation Security 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Hunter
    • 1
  • Laura Garius
    • 1
  • Paul Hamilton
    • 1
  • Azrini Wahidin
    • 2
  1. 1.Sociology DepartmentSchool of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK
  2. 2.School of Social Sciences, Humanities and LawTeesside UniversityMiddlesbroughUK

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