You’re caught shoplifting. You’re shocked, taken to the back and questioned, you’re embarrassed and you may also be charged. Shoplifting is a crime, and you are a criminal, but you may also be addicted to it.
As in any other addiction, the shoplifter has anxiety before the crime - and when the deed is done, there is a feeling of relief. Then there’s guilt and shame and telling yourself that ‘I’ll never do this again’. But once you get away with it, you can easily do it again.
All of us have the potential for shoplifting, even though we know it’s a crime. It’s human nature to like getting something for nothing, although we may think of doing it ~ not everyone takes the risk and steals.
Those who steal and resell items, and have no guilt or shame by their actions, and drug addicts who steal to finance their habit, however only 3% are professionals.
This is the majority:
Adults and juveniles steal for many reasons: problems coping with their
lives, depression, frustration, anxiety, peers pressure, and just for the
thrill of getting away with taking something for nothing. A small percent have
psychiatric problems - kleptomania.
Most non-professionals have no criminal intent, financial need or greed.
They simply feel that they can get away with it (73 percent of adults and 72 percent of juveniles don’t plan their theft).
On average shoplifters steal approx. 48 times before getting caught shoplifting and they’re only charged 50 percent of the time.
If you score 48 times before getting caught you start to believe that you’re a pretty good thief, and that you’ll never get caught. So, similar to gambling, or sex addiction, there is a high (adrenaline rush) when they get away with it, and the stolen item is a ‘reward’.
This theft is not about money, or greed, or even wanting what they took in the first place.
It’s about the adrenaline rush (the high). – an escape from reality for a short period of time.
This addiction develops quickly and approx. 27 percent of shoplifters can’t stop - even after getting caught shoplifting - and they continue to steal on average 1.6 times per week.
However help is available:
" You actually did more in our 1st phone session than you realize. I went and did the family grocery shopping yesterday, which normally gives me high anxiety and panic, but yesterday it didn't.
I did not have any fear that I would shoplift and I actually felt empowered going through the checkout. Who would have thought paying for groceries would make a person feel so good!
You validated so many things for me and brought a whole lot of feelings to the surface, that I have been suppressing.
I called my husband afterwards and had I good cry. I told him that I felt that I had let my family down and he replied that I hadn't. He somehow understood why I have doing what I have. Thank you so much. I can't wait to talk to you in our next coaching session."
Mrs A.J Sydney Australia
This crime affects all of us. It overburdens the police and the justice system. It adds to security costs, and all of us pay the price in the long run.
But it should also be understood that for many, it’s similar to over-eating, drinking, gambling or drugs – a maladaptive way of coping with problems.
Similar to other addicts, shoplifters need help and they’re ashamed. Others deny the addiction in the first place, until they have no choice – they’re caught.
Unlike the professional shoplifter, they suffer guilt and shame. For these people, the crime is a symptom, of many underlying issues in their lives, and prevention through treatment and education is how the problem must be solved.
Jail will NOT make a shoplifting addiction go away.
If you're serious about getting help, I'd love to be your coach. Let's have a free 1/2 session to talk about your needs.
Source: The National Organization for Shoplifting Prevention
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