How to Tell if Someone is Addicted to Stealing
It is estimated that there are about 27 million shoplifters in America. Roughly 25% of all shoplifters in America are under the age of 18 and 55% of adult shoplifters in America began shoplifting when they were in their teens.
Signs of Addiction to Shoplifting
Some people will shoplift once and never do it again. However, many others will steal on a continuous basis. If a person is stealing regularly, it can be a major warning sign that there is a serious problem.
Here are the top signs that someone is addicted to stealing:
- The person has a powerful urge to steal items that he or she doesn’t need
- The person feels relief, pleasure, or gratification while stealing
- The person feels increased tension, or arousal leading up to the theft
- The urge to steal items does not disappear after a theft is made
- The person is constantly afraid of being arrested for stealing
Beyond A Bad Habit
Shoplifting is definitely a bad habit and a major cause for concern. However, if the person in question is stealing on a regular basis and is fixated on it, it can actually mean that the teen has a condition called kleptomania, which is defined by the Cleveland Clinic as a “recurring drive to steal that he or she cannot resist, stealing items for the sake of stealing, not because they need or want the items, or because they cannot afford to buy them.”
It is estimated by the Cleveland Clinic that between 4-24% of shoplifters are kleptomaniacs. If a person’s stealing habit has turned into full kleptomania, then it is even more important to address the person’s behavior before he or she makes a major theft that could result in serious legal consequences.
How to Stop Shoplifting
There are a number of things that you can do to help someone stop shoplifting. For example, a teen shoplifter might be experiencing peer pressure from friends who steal, want an item they can’t afford, or be looking for a thrill. There are seven different “types” of shoplifters and each has their own motives and reasons. Once you know why a person is stealing, it can be significantly easier to figure out how to stop it.
Explaining the legal consequences of shoplifting, such as potential jail time and a criminal record can also sometimes be highly successful in stopping shoplifting. Helping a person recognize other negative consequences from shoplifting, such as feelings or guilt, unsatisfaction, or isolation, can also help.
Stop Stealing With Training Courses
If you have been instructed to take a shoplifting or theft course, our online theft awareness course, STOPLifting, may satisfy that requirement. STOPLifting is nationally recognized shoplifting cessation course recognized by courts and agencies.
If you are ready to take action to help people stop stealing, sign up to start referring our anti-shoplifting course, STOPLifting, at your school, court, or other organization.
Get in touch with us to get started.
“Facts About Shoplifting.” HG.org. https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/facts-about-shoplifting-31291
“Kleptomania.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kleptomania/symptoms-causes/syc-20364732
“Kleptomania.” Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9878-kleptomania
“What Can I Do to Stop My Child From Shoplifting?” Connecticut Children’s. https://www.connecticutchildrens.org/health-library/en/parents/stop-shoplifting/
“The Five Finger Discount: 35 Facts About Shoplifting in America.” Blue Water Credit. https://bluewatercredit.com/five-finger-discount-35-facts-shoplifting-america/#:~:text=It%27s%20estimated%20that%20there%20are,steal%20from%20stores%20and%20retailers.