in LPRC Reports

Shoplifter Typology Concepts Using different deterrence measures for different threats Hayes 2008

Part I – Types of Shoplifters: Typology
Read Hayes, PhD, CPP
Academics, law enforcement officials and loss prevention personnel have been differentiating and labeling types of shoplifters for decades, if not centuries. All groupings are based on perception and probably no one is much more accurate than another is. For the purpose of this report, we have chosen to classify shoplifters into two broad categories, Professional and Amateur/Opportunist, with corresponding subcategories. The reasoning is, by examining the motives behind a theft or thefts; the theft methods employed; and the merchandise generally taken, individuals stealing from stores can be generally categorized. It is also important to analyze a shoplifter’s propensity to actually attempt to defeat prevention efforts rather than just avoid them. All criminal groups, just like any group, actually have hierarchies. In other words, the degree of planning, sophistication, skill, success rate, and financial gain realized per incident vary widely. Keep in mind, though, shoplifters can not be readily classified. The difference between one type and another is not a clear one. In fact, individual shoplifters may cross from one type to another as their motives and methods change. The point is to look for ways to reduce the negative impact any type of shoplifter has on your business. Understanding who is stealing from you, why, and how is an important first step.