The Holiday Season & the Uptick in Shoplifting
Shoplifting, as defined by the law, is the act of knowingly obtaining or concealing unpaid merchandise from a retail establishment. This illicit act can range from pocketing a small item without payment to sophisticated schemes involving the theft of high-value goods. While shoplifting crimes occur throughout the year, there is a noticeable uptick during the holiday season.
The Reasons Behind the Holiday Shoplifting Surge
Several factors contribute to the increase in shoplifting during the holiday period, such as:
- Increased traffic in stores. The holiday season is synonymous with shopping. With more people frequenting stores, there's a higher likelihood for shoplifters to blend in with the crowd and evade detection.
- Holiday sales and promotions. Retailers often offer sales and promotions during the holiday season, which can create chaotic environments that are ripe for shoplifting. The rush and distraction provide the perfect cover for those intending to steal.
- Seasonal workers. During the holidays, retailers hire seasonal workers who may not be as trained or vigilant in spotting potential shoplifters. This lack of experience can inadvertently facilitate theft.
- Colder weather. With the lower temperatures, more people bundle up and wear layers, which allows people to more easily conceal shoplifted items.
- Need. Some shoplifters steal not because they can or wish to make a little more money but because they have basic needs. Thus, some of the uptick can be attributed to needs brought on by financial hardship and strain.
What Items Are the Most Shoplifted?
Here are the top five items that are most commonly stolen by shoplifters:
- Cosmetics. Cosmetics, including makeup and lipsticks, top the list of most frequently stolen items. Their small size makes them easy to conceal, and their relatively high cost makes them an attractive target for shoplifting.
- Alcohol. Alcohol is another high-ticket item that is frequently stolen. Its high cost combined with easy concealment makes it a prime target for shoplifters. This item, like cosmetics, is also easy to conceal in bags, under clothing, or in pockets.
- Apparel. Apparel, particularly jeans, is a common target of organized retail theft. Their high value, especially branded ones, coupled with the demand in the second-hand market, makes them attractive for theft. Clothing can also easily be worn, layered, or concealed, and these items can be used for personal reasons or for resale/profit.
- Food, groceries, and candy. While not as high-value as other items on this list, candy and other snack foods are frequently stolen due to their small size and easy concealment. Other food items are also often taken due to financial hardship and need.
- Small electronics. Small electronics, such as smartphones, watches, and chargers, are highly coveted by shoplifters. The high resale value of these items, along with their compact size, makes them an ideal target.
Understanding the Legal Ramifications of Shoplifting
Shoplifting is a serious crime with severe legal ramifications. In Texas, the penalties for shoplifting can range from a misdemeanor to a felony offense based on the value of the stolen goods and the offender's criminal history. The holiday season does not offer any leniency in this regard. In fact, law enforcement agencies are often more vigilant during this period due to the expected surge in shoplifting incidents.
Read our blog, “Caught Shoplifting in Texas? What You Should Know,” to learn more about the specific penalties for shoplifting charges in Texas.
Talk with Our Theft Crime Attorney
The Clark Law Firm is committed to helping clients build a solid defense against shoplifting charges. If you or a loved one are facing such charges, you should reach out to our team sooner rather than later.
Facing shoplifting charges? Contact The Clark Law Firm online or via phone at (817) 435-4970 for the defense counsel you need.