Retail businesses large and small lose the production cost of the goods shoplifted from their store. The amount of money lost depends on the profit margin, but for many businesses this is up to 90 percent of face retail price. Most businesses do not recover the goods or their money even if the shoplifter is caught. Businesses will try to curb shoplifting by investing in technology such as security cameras and security tags for their most valuable products. Businesses also invest in staff training and put pressure on their staff to catch thieves before they can steal the store's products. If profit margins drop, even in a large retailer, it can lead to job losses.
Law-abiding citizens who make their purchases without falling into the temptation to "get something for nothing" often pick up the tab for a shoplifter's larceny. The most noticeable negative effect is the rising cost of products in stores. If stores invest more money in technology and training, then the indirect cost of their products goes up. Stores pass these costs on to the consumers. Consumers have to wait longer to check out as security tags are removed.
Police and the Courts
According to the Shoplifting Prevention Coalition's website, only 1 in 49 shoplifters were caught in 2006 and of those, only 50 percent were subjected to legal action. However, the website also states there are about 500,000 thefts a day in America; this still means a significant amount of police and judicial time consumed with dealing with petty offenses. Each charge and conviction must follow due process and paperwork. This takes police time away from preventing and investigating more serious crimes.
Shoplifting has wide implications for the community that go beyond failing local businesses and higher prices for goods. If certain areas have higher than…