The Impact of a 'Victimless Crime' By Lohra Miller, CEO of Turning Point Justice
Many shoplifters think that “shoplifting is a victimless crime” and that “stores won’t miss a few items,” or, “they can afford it,” but the reality is that retail margins are often very thin, and lost profits can lead to lost jobs in local communities.
Especially at grocery stores, margins – the amount of profit left after paying all expenses – can be just a few pennies on the dollar. People may think that pocketing a pack of gum doesn’t do much damage, but with margins of just a few cents, grocers who lose a pack of gum to shoplifting would need to sell more merchandise just to get back to the breakeven point.
Shoplifting Harms Us All
Shoplifting hurts retailers, it hurts communities, and it even hurts the shoplifter by leading them to believe this crime is not a big deal if they are not caught. Eventually, however, shoplifters are likely to be stopped, and then can be shocked by the serious consequences.
Going to court and ending up with a criminal record can keep people from getting a scholarship, a job, or serving in the military. It can hurt credit scores, making it hard to get an apartment or a loan. Without all these basics for a positive life in our society, it becomes more likely that people might commit other crimes, significantly compounding the damages that unchecked shoplifting can cause to our communities.
Appropriate Consequences to Repair Communities
To ensure that first time offenders face appropriate consequences that help them learn from mistakes, Turning Point Justice has teamed up with the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) and retailers to offer the Court Alternative Program (CAP). CAP helps offenders realize the impact caused by theft through the NASP shoplifting prevention programs trusted in 49 states.
Offenders who complete CAP avoid a criminal record and face consequences by paying restitution to retailers. They learn about the harm shoplifting causes, improving recidivism among first time shoplifters while protecting communities. If shoplifters do reoffend, they are no longer eligible to participate and face prosecution to ensure they are held accountable for their actions. With these restorative justice solutions, communities can consistently stand up to crime through consequences that are appropriate to the offense.