I'm not here defending a subreddit I've never visited but in general, those in the loss prevention industry don't have the time or context to evaluate if a given shoplifter is or isn't deserving of intervention based on the shoplifter's circumstances. Loss prevention is there to prevent loss - not make moral judgements.
I see folks making the argument, "property rights should not be above human life," and I get it, but grocery stores are not charities. Problems should be solved with real solutions rather than sacrificing businesses who are not equipped to solve the problem. In other words, if “property rights should not be above human life” then cities should provide for those lives through taxes and meal programs rather than letting random businesses be targets.
My nephew works at home depot. He stepped in front of a shoplifters cart, and they demoted him.
I was picking up something at an Apple store in the mall. An Apple employee is helping me with some questions on adapters. A guy walks in right next to us and proceeds to start taking stuff and stuffing it in his shirt. I asked the Apple employee what is he going to do. He said nothing, it is store policy to not to get involved.
It might be for some businesses in some jurisdictions but that's not true at global scale. There's just not enough margin in retail to cover losses that way.
(Full disclosure: I'm currently working with a client on a loss prevention project, big retail stores are the customers)
Also, is snatch and grab the most prevalent type of shoplifting? I found some articles mentioned fradulent returns and failing to ring someone up.
So that's just the way it is and it will never change? Maybe we should have less jobs where someone is authorized to use violent force and can check their morals at the door.
“Loss prevention” is just private security and it’s definitely problematic. Through profiling it reinforces racism and classism. Can you imagine how unpleasant it must be to be treated with suspicion every time you walk into a Target?
I think retailers could absolutely develop more compassionate ways of preventing things from being stolen, but why would they? There’s no incentive.
(Full disclosure: I'm currently working with a client on a loss prevention project, big retail stores are the customers)
I've got a CCTV video in front of me right now showing a retail store being robbed late at night, a guy wearing a hoodie broke into the store, violently attacked three checkouts, and left with an estimated three figure cash payday, in approximately three minutes. The physical damage done to the store done during the attack, and lost revenue when the store was closed the following days for repairs, far exceeded the value of the cash the attacker escaped with.
Loss prevention is about stopping the bad guys from stealing your stuff (whether that's goods or cash).
I've no idea why one would think profiling (or racism) should have anything to do with this?
What’s the disconnect? You, someone who ostensibly works in the loss prevention industry claim that racism is not a factor; but black people, as polled by Gallup, don’t seem to agree.
I understand that Walgreens have closed at least 10 stores in San Francisco in a couple of years due to "Organized Retail Crime"
well if they fence stolen goods, then it's pure profit. They aren't shoplifting because they are in need for diapers, as you mentioned. They fence it on ebay, which makes ebay an co accessory to theft, but hey, they're just "a platform"...
And since many cities like San Fransisco have(or had) DA that don't prosecute theft under a certain amount because "critical theory", zero risks...
I will admit that I sometimes steal candy/snacks from convenience stores for this exact reason. There is a very real thrill involved in getting away with something, and I've (mostly jokingly) considered going to SF just to steal things from convenience stores.
It really seems like a no brainer why this is happening more often. If, as a child, your parents said "we are no longer going to punish you for doing the thing that we told you not to do," wouldn't you start doing that thing more again? I get that wealth inequality is bad and I get that our criminal justice system can be horrific, but so many people seem to automatically assume that all this theft is only people stealing to feed/clothe/house themselves and/or their children. Has no one else ever just stolen stuff for the fun of it?
I'm sure they have, but not me. It's definitely against my moral code and, as such, is not fun no matter how easy it hard it is.
If you can't stop doing this, please at least don't do this at mom and pop places.
One loss prevention officer says:
> He finds the environment of loss prevention thrilling and takes pride in the training he’s received to track down and apprehend shoplifters. “That’s a huge adrenaline rush,” he says. “I think that’s a major factor in why people are in this field.”
But also says:
> “I don’t do this because I think shoplifting is wrong,” he says. “If I’m perfectly honest, I could not care less about that. I just do my job.”
Power is a hell of a drug.
Obviously these officers exercise discretion, because shoplifting happens all day long. Many stores build cases for repeat offenders before attempting to confront them. It's an interesting and complex issue, and one I'm glad I don't have to deal with 8 hours a day.
Summary is, It changed how I see work, because I think the happiest people and probably to some extent the best employees are the ones that are there because they enjoy the day to day, and not as much for the meaning they get out of it. (Obviously exceptions apply)
I really think that’s perfectly fine
As Dan says "The goal is to protect the business — not to ruin people’s lives." Is Alex getting that "huge adrenaline rush" from protecting Walmart's property? Or is he getting that adrenaline from having power over people? Because his desire "to move back to the field side, where we actually deal with people" seems to imply that it is the power over people that he craves and not the loss prevention.
Also, I can't think of a 'better' answer to that question really.
> I just do this to pay the bills
Okay, so he doesn't care at all what happened to me
> I really care about saving peoples' lives
Yeah, that's what I would say if I were an evil guy
All I would really care about is their surgery success rate and track record.
Motive is tied to the means, not just the ends.
That prosocial goal?
Now consider what happens when convenience stores stop being convenient. People with money stop patronizing them. They reduce their stock of items. They close. And now people, including poor people, no longer have a convenient place to shop.
Everybody has options. Shoplifting is very rarely, if ever, the best option available to someone on the ropes. It's just often the more convenient option, until it stops being convenient for them and everybody else.
Or more likely, he uses it to buy drugs.
So preventing the shoplifting might just save his life from a drug overdose.
It's hard to say that stealing is clearly right in almost any scenario. It's almost always anti-social.
"Stopping someone from stealing a notebook prevented a drug overdose death".
I hope you and folks like you realize that encountering rhetoric like yours only reinforces the thought that some people are just really out to feel like they have power over others, and some folks are capable of amazing gymnastics to support the cruelty of most Western capital societies rather than confront the notion that maybe you have no god damn idea why someone was stealing a notebook and maybe just maybe it doesn't fucking matter even a tiny little bit.
I wouldn't necessarily attribute that statement to a power trip. There is joy in doing a job well.
What is the purpose of mentioning the "white men" part?
I also think it links to how most loss prevention officers have a decide to go into law enforcement.
It's intersectional dog whistle.
A more bizarre matter is why the heck would reddit host subs dedicated to shoplifting tactics... although I'm just half surprised, given the kind of depraved porn communities reddit welcomes...
Loss Prevention Demographics - https://www.zippia.com/loss-prevention-officer-jobs/demograp...
70% White, 13.7% Hispanic, 8.4% Black
US Demographics - 57.8% White, 18.7% Hispanic, 12.1% Black
It's a poor choice of words.
Would it just be a poor choice of words if they included stats on the people who shoplift, and it included "many of them black teens"?
I'm not really familiar with the site nor the author's agenda but doing a search for "white" and "black" mostly brought up articles on consumer products.
They did imply it by mentioning that white people are overrepresented in the field. Retail security following Black people around a store is one of the more common forms of everyday profiling and racism. Is this not common knowledge anymore?
I only know of one or two people in my entire life that think that preventing theft immoral. "A LOT" is there to mislead readers into thinking there is a moral dilemma around loss prevention.
There is no moral dilemma. Not stealing is the most basic rule of society.
I don’t understand the other side as presented.
I was homeless for several years. I can tell you from experience that few homeless folk shoplift, it's just not worth the risk and hassle. The simple truth is that there is lots of food to eat here in America. You have to actually work really hard to starve. Food banks, churches and other charity orgs, etc. it's literally hard to go hungry here. You know who hates thieves? Homeless people living outside where their stuff is constantly vulnerable to theft.
Mass shoplifting is mostly thrill-seeking kids and small organized crime rings. (Go check your local police blotter.)
This should be a huge red flag that should preclude someone from working in the industry.
As Dan says later in the article:
>“They’re more concerned with punishing and catching, and they see asset protection as a game,” adds Dan, who requested that Input give him an alias. “I don’t think it’s healthy to have those people in the industry. So, when I see that, I try to challenge that. The goal is to protect the business — not to ruin people’s lives.”
People who go into law enforcement or security should not be doing it because they get a kick out of catching and punishing people. Because if all they care about it that kick, they are more likely to abuse their power to get that kick regardless of whether the people on the other end deserve to be caught or punished.
I don't have a problem with seeing it as a game and enjoying that part of the job though. Security work is just like that in general. You'll always have someone constantly probing your defenses and modifying their tactics and if you got rid of everyone who thought it was fun to deal with that you wouldn't have anyone left willing to do the job.
I also think loss prevention in general has a potential to be really depressing. Sometimes you're just dealing with kids and thrill seekers, but other times you're having to deal with people who are genuinely desperate with limited ability to get the things they need for health and survival. There must be, at least to some degree, a tendency to dehumanize the people who are caught to protect the mental health and self-concept of the people working in that field. Nobody wants to be the bad guy and when you've repeatedly had people arrested for trying to get food or medication for themselves or their children it must make you question if you're doing the right thing. Defending stores from theft isn't wrong or immoral, but after repeatedly protecting Walmart, which has hundreds of billions of dollars, against impoverished and humiliated mothers who hate themselves and what they're doing, but are just trying to get diapers for their babies has to make you question that. It must make it harder to keep compassionate people around.
People get into careers for all sorts of reasons. A paycheck. The thrill of succeeding at their job. The thrill of being the best in the business.
You can't just exclude those people from that career and focus on people "the goals of the business". Personal goals are better drivers to excellence than business goals.
I don't see this as any different from people who work red team in infosec and get a thrill from getting root on a box, or those who are blue team and the highlight of their week is catching an intrusion attempt. Some people just thrive in that sort of competitive environment.
"Minimizing theft" is not the same thing as "catching shoplifters". An ideal security job from the perspective of the business/society is boring. An ideal security job from the perspective of an adrenaline seeker is exciting. This conflicting incentives can lead to that security person creating excitement in situations where none should exist.
Confused by the choice of words, those seem to be two different things
If you act there are real world consequences for your actions
Run a red light and the camera will catch you - it should not punish you - but it records the event
Give power to the ones who don't want it because they'll be the best arbiter. They won't chase power for the sake of power
Maybe we should do the same thing for cops/security. Those who are likely to commit abuses should never be given the chance
Why specify race and sex?
It's a kindergartner's level of moral thinking combined with Karmic mysticism, equally juvenile.
But if you base law enforcement around that, I promise you that neighborhood will be one of those "food deserts" you've heard about. Which the same people will then complain about.
Well, it also depends upon the side of your point of view. Doesn't it?
They're not getting paid anywhere near enough for that level of risk.
How did people's moral compasses get so corrupt that instead of believing stealing is immoral, they believe that stopping other people from stealing is immoral?
Walmart, to take one example, is one of the top employers of medicaid and food stamp recipients (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/19/walmart-and-mcdonalds-among-...), essentially forcing the government to make up the gap from the incredibly low wages that they pay their employees and enabling them, in turn, to make more profits. Is that stealing from the government / other taxpayers? If you felt that way, you probably wouldn't see much harm in stealing a couple of bucks worth of stuff back out of Walmart's deep, deep pockets.
Anyway, I think that's just one example of why people may feel differently about stealing from an individual versus stealing from a massive, faceless, profitable corporation.
> Although McLeod enjoys his job, he knows it’s one that’s frowned upon by many. “A lot of people see that a homeless person got arrested for stealing a candy bar. They’re hungry, right?” he says. “A lot of people are like, ‘How, morally, can you do this job?’”
I still think this is a perfectly moral (and important!) job. And it's the role of our justice system to define what punishments should be when folks are caught. But the context of the quote does change when you see he was talking about a situation where a homeless person takes a single candy bar. The "man steals a loaf of bread to feed his starving family" thing is a pretty classic ethical dilemma.
But that's also an insignificant fraction of shoplifting cases. Changing our overall policy based on it would be like legalizing running red lights because once in a while people are rushing someone to the hospital.
for everything else, it becomes this twisted worldview where shoplifters believe they're owed something by "the system." or because it's walmart/target instead of mom and pop's corner shop, it's like they're the modern day robin hood. the ability of our brains to think themselves into defending its own behavior, as immoral as it may be, is fascinating.
These are people who live in poverty. Their lives are so bad that punishment is near meaningless.
>busting people who are shoplifting items that they either need to survive or items that they can sell to survive to say, pay rent, because our capitalist system has shit on them and left them with no options
Property rights should not be above human life. Full stop.
Problems should be solved with real solutions rather than sacrificing businesses who are not equipped to solve the problem. In other words, if “property rights should not be above human life” then cities should provide for those lives through taxes and meal programs rather than letting random businesses be targets.
I agree, but America as a nation isn't really big on social safety nets.
* Americans care about shoplifting but not social safety nets and it would mean that society has implicitly decided that some shoplifting folks may not get the support they need.
* Americans care about shoplifting and social safety nets enough to force political change.
I think what doesn't seem okay to me is to say, "Americans care about shoplifting but not social safety nets... but we are going to make an end run around what society thinks and allow shoplifting as a solution to the social safety net problem".
It is also much more organized now: rackets have a list of stuff to steal that they can then pawn off more easily. That is why LEGOs and laundry detergent are increasingly locked up.
A lot of them are in the position they are in now due to drugs and booze. Let's not conflate those homeless for economic reasons with the ones that just burned all their bridges via substance abuse.
> absolutely fucking horrible compared to what most experience in the US and other OECD nations
I used to live in Switzerland and the cops were pretty rough on the local drunks as well. They got a place to sleep at night, but were spared no quarter on everything else.
Quite simply this is false. Mental health issues generally lead to addiction, in nearly all cases its a dual diagnosis situation with mental health issues and substance abuse which is usually due to the mental health issues. These people are just trying to cope with their daily existence and all the rich people are constantly shitting on them, telling them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and hiring lobbyists and think-tanks to write legislation to shit on them more. We spend so much money on stupid programs instead of just giving people fking places to live its insane in the US
>They got a place to sleep at night
That's the big difference. Austria also has great public housing
However once they get there, they have little desire to not be there. How can you get someone off drugs if they aren't interested in getting off drugs? And not only that, decriminalization has made it very easy to get drugs and has made your city the go to place in the region if you want to do drugs? Even assuming all of the addicts deserve to be cured, how do you do that without cooperation? We can spend tons of money on them for sure, but it seems just be a pork and jobs program for a few organizations rather than doing anything that is effective.
Do you mean the problem will solve itself naturally if we let them do all the drugs they want? Yes, that's true, but it is a very morbid way of going about solving the problem.
We can still age restrict like we do with alcohol, we could even implement a licensing system where, similar to driving, education requirements must be met in order to purchase a given substance. There are many different things we can do, and nearly all of them are better than our current system
Not to mention I'm only discussing the effect on direct users, our foreign policy concerning substance legality in other could tries has absolutely wreaked havoc. Not only through our treaties with European countries but especially south america
In the US anyone can already drink as much alcohol as they want, smoke as many cigarettes. Both of those have immensely harmful health implications, generally worse than other drugs such as cannabis, MDMA, LSD, or even heroin. Heroin won't give you cancer, neither will LSD and no, the short term effects of those drugs do not make them worse, that's a load of shit spread by incorrect government propaganda
There is evidence from multiple countries now that supplying people who have a current addiction with clean, high quality drugs and gives them a safe environment to use reduces deaths, new addictions, and harm overall. Yet here we are, throwing people with problems in jail like that's somehow sensible. Its not, not even close. The way the US treats people with issues is absolutely disgusting
Sure, if someone's bleeding out on the street, and you grab a tourniquet from a nearby drugstore and run out without paying for it, you should get a pass. But I think cases like that make up approximately 0% of shoplifting. Most of the times people say that shoplifting is necessary to survive, it's not actually true.
Yes only things that can happen to kill someone within like 60 seconds are what should trump the property rights of the capital owners that have been looting the country and take advantage of the dire straights of the poor working class. Awesome
I've been dirt poor, I've been homeless, I've been alone in a foreign country with no one to turn to, I've lived in such shit places that my neighbour got shot down with an AK not 100 meters from my doorstep ... in Europe. I still didn't steal.
There are systemic issues which keep people down, that doesn't excuse immoral and illegal behaviour. I've known a lot of criminals, they're by and large scumbags, not some modern robinhoods stealing for the sake of their family because of capitalism.
I once took a greyhound bus across country. From Mississippi all the way to LA, the bus would stop at each prison, pick people up..they were all going to one place (LA), many of them for the first time. They had nowhere else to go, an open bus ticket, and knowledge that they could survive in LA.
These days, Portland and Seattle are increasingly popular places, not just sunny California.
it's just outright idiotic policy to accept the current state of homelessness in many major cities, it's inhumane AND expensive
That said, the system works. Some people get small personal servings for free; others pay extra for their full family's meal so the store can make up for the breakage. It's that same terraced pricing structure every SASS loves.
they need to survive by stealing is a failure of the system that is in place, either education or the social support system. Accommodating for the system's failures by giving up property rights is a defeatist take at best, virtue signaling at worst.
I agree with most of what this video has to say.
If you are so passionate about stopping theft because it's wrong, then you should be focusing your energy on stopping wage theft and white collar crime which is orders of magnitude more damaging to our economy and society than shoplifting could ever be.
The only case where I would support a larger effort to crack down on shoplifting is when it is organized. The majority of shoplifting cases are just individuals doing it for their own reasons. But occasionally, including recently, there have been cases of organized shoplifting rings. That's a big enough crime that it's worth going after.
I don't support stealing but there are different kinds of stealing. There's a difference between stealing cars and stealing diapers and baby formula.
Property crime (and many otehr kinds of crime) are a symptom of extreme poverty and wealth inequality.
Policing here isn't the answer. Nor is incarceration. If it was, the US would be the safest place on Earth since it has the highest rate of incarceration in the world (4% of the population, 25% of the world's prisoners).
At some point you have to realize this issue will only be dealt with by addressing the underlying material conditions of the nation's poorest and most vulnerable. The link between poverty and crime has been known for thousands of years yet Americans in particularly doggedly refuse to acknowledge this.
We like 'stuff' in general and we love our 'stuff' in particular. Property is very big around here.
Also, not to excuse shoplifters but wage theft is a way WAY bigger issue in America than petty theft. But it gets less visibility, it's less visible in general, doesn't make for good TV, doesn't have that 'dystopian I need to buy more ammo' vibe and it can't really be used as a political wedge issue. We made this!
Also, to add the the general thread, I couldn't give two shits about this. We have a heavily militarized police force that looks like it's about to invade a foreign country and people still shoplift. A bunch of rent-a-cops are surely going to drive the shoplifter numbers down, right? It's almost as if the whole stealing thing happens for a different reason..