How common is retail theft?

Retail stores have recently ramped up their loss-prevention tactics. With such an increase in online shopping, is retail theft still commonplace?

It is helpful to know a little about retail theft to understand why stores have increased their security measures.

How common is retail theft?

Some retailers estimate that they lose billions every year due to retail theft. The most common type of retail theft is shoplifting. Shoplifting occurs when someone steals items they can discreetly place in pockets, a coat or a bag. With self-checkouts becoming more popular, shoplifting is even easier to perpetrate without a checker monitoring the goods shoppers have in their carts. The second most common kind of retail theft is employee theft, in which employees steal goods from their employers.

Is all retail theft intentional?

In some cases, theft is unintentional. Accidental retail theft can occur when customers forget they have an item in their possession when they leave the store. For example, a customer may place an item in their shopping cart, then set a handbag or reusable shopping bag on top and forget about it at checkout or a young child may sneak a toy they love away in their coat. When customers exit the store, unaware of the unpaid item’s presence, the security alarm may sound or a loss prevention specialist may stop them, triggering a frustrating battle with retail theft charges.

While not all theft is intentional, all theft can place the accused in sticky legal situations that require a thorough defense.