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New Year Resolutions: Reduce Impacts of Shoplifting
By Lohra Miller, Turning Point Justice CEO
 
Our planet has begun another rotation around the sun, and with it, many are making resolutions to improve the year ahead. Our 2015 resolution is to continue preventing the costly burden that shoplifting has on retailers, communities, and justice systems, to help to reduce the impact shoplifting has on our economies and our lives this year.
 
Shoplifters often don’t realize the effects that retail theft has on their community. Many shoplifters believe the myth that shoplifting is a “victimless crime.” They believe that the store can easily afford to pay for the missing merchandise. However, retail theft is much more harmful than petty thieves may realize.
 
In addition to the loss incurred by the retailer, shoplifting affects everyday shoppers when businesses have to offset the expense by raising prices. In fact, it’s estimated that over a year, these costs raise prices by $423 per household. When shoplifters are prosecuted, it puts strain on the community by burdening police and court systems with petty offenses, which costs thousands of tax dollars. While traditional prosecution may punish offenders, they often don’t learn the full lesson, and the community is left to pay the price.
 
In partnership with the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), Turning Point Justice works with local justice systems and retailers to provide shoplifters with alternative solutions to petty theft. These solutions, like the Crime Accountability Program (CAP), educate first time, petty offenders about the true consequences of retail theft, and how to avoid it in the future. This approach ensures consistent shoplifter punishment, but allows first-time petty shoplifters to make amends, maintain a clean record, and move on from the mistake to develop a positive life.
 
The CAP program helps to ensure that the offender learns from his or her actions, and pays restitution to the store to cover losses. It also helps to avoid the need for the community and those that serve it to invest more time and money in fighting retail theft.
 
With the start of the New Year, new opportunities will arise for retailers and their communities stand up to shoplifting. Turning Point Justice looks forward to helping to protect victims of shoplifting, and helping first-time offenders earn a second chance in a 2015.
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