Skip to main content

Who actually steals? A study of covertly observed shoplifters *

Buy Article:

$53.17 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Shoplifting is one of the most common and costly crimes, yet little data exist to determine reliably characteristics of the typical shoplifter or the modus operandi of the crime. It is a crime that has most often been studied using official, secondary data provided by either retail security personnel or law enforcement officers. Reliability issues plague these official data. Continuing the “dark figure of crime” tradition, this study examines shoplifting by covert observation with a camera system installed in a typical suburban retail drug store. A standardized data template was used to record the demographic and behavioral characteristics of shoppers. Significant numbers of shoppers (8.5%) were observed shoplifting. Logistic regression analysis reveals that, while members of some demographic groups shoplifted more often than others, behavioral indicators carried far more predictive power. The methodology and findings are considered within the larger context of the law enforcement and “profiling” literatures.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Georgia State University 2: University of Florida 3: University of Maryland

Publication date: December 1, 2004


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more