One of the most common non-violent crimes facing America today--and most of the world--is shoplifting. So prevalent is this problem that most stores and shops automatically increase prices (as much as 10%) to cover these losses.
Shoplifters fall into several categories. First, there are the "professionals". They make their living by stealing--most often to their "customers" specifications. They have to perfect their technique to operate, to remove labels with scissors or razor blades, that could incriminate them if caught. Or by designing a "booster" box for stolen articles, or the expert use of "bad bags" (shopping bags), or "booster" skirts or pants (ordinary appearing garments with baglike compartments inside), plus dozens of other clever "professional's tools".
Some take things they could easily pay for and perhaps do not even want. These offenders may suffer from kleptomania, a neurotic, irresistible impulse to steal. This is almost never done for the purpose of acquiring the item taken. While these people may not necessarily be considered mentally ill, generally "kleptomaniacs" are emotionally disturbed.
The greatest number of shoplifters are "amateurs". Usually, they have little money, few scruples and an intense desire to own luxuries. Psychologists say the four most common urges and emotions underlying these crimes are:
Whether the item taken is of little value (as a candy bar or piece of bubble gum), or of greater worth (typewriter or camera) it is still shoplifting and it is still a crime. These crimes affect us all by being forced to pay higher prices.
No matter how young children are, they must be taught that to take anything without paying for it is a wrongful act. If a child does not realize this at an early age, it may set a pattern that could follow him into adulthood, with disturbing consequences.
The simplest way to prevent a child from stealing is to watch him at all times while you are shopping and reprimand him when the act takes place. If this fails, take him to the store manager or other authoritative personnel and say something like "My son took this. Will you please tell him what happens to people who steal".
Naturally, it is a more serious problem when teenagers and adults engage in shoplifting. A friend or family member may be extremely secretive, but if they engage in shoplifting regularly, there are usually giveaway clues as to their activities:
If it's a stranger in the illegal act, notify store personnel. If it's a friend or family member, warn him first. If this fails, convince him to see a doctor. As a last resort, you may have to notify police, to save him from ridicule, disgrace and extreme hardship later.
While a purse snatching is one of today's most common crimes facing women, strong arm robbery (hold-ups, muggings) is the most prevalent act where men are generally the victims.
Purse snatching is a crime of opportunity. You can eliminate that opportunity. Every female carrying a purse is a potential target.
The "art" of picking pockets is among one of the world's oldest professions. Author Charles Dickens' Artful Dodger is probably among the best known pickpockets. However, all are not juveniles--and all are not males!
Always lock your car doors. Be certain all windows are completely closed. When driving, keep all doors locked. It is best to park in attended lots. If you must leave a key with the attendant, leave only the ignition key.
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While we don't like to talk about it - or even think about it - crime is on the increase in America, and throughout the world. The number of burglars, muggers, auto thieves, robbers, purse snatchers, etc., is growing at an alarming rate.
How to Protect Your Home from Intruders
How to Protect Yourself when Traveling
Street crime is on the increase in most large U.S. cities. It is also becoming more prevalent in small communities. The following list of "safeguards" will help protect you - and may even save your life!
Many burglars enter homes by simply breaking glass windows. A good deterrent is to have better quality glass installed at vulnerable points around the perimeter of your residence.