Legislation – Survey and Analysis of Criminal and Tort Aspects of Shoplifting Statutes

Shoplifting not only results in heavy financial losses for the merchant but also poses special problems in criminal law and general law enforcement. One such problem arises from the fact that most such thefts involve relatively small amounts, with the result that the public does not seem extremely concerned about the matter when an individual case comes up for prosecution. Another peculiar difficulty is that perhaps more than any other single crime shoplifting is an offense committed by amateurs, both adult and juvenile. This serves to make both detection and prosecution difficult. Finally, the right of the individual to be free from unlawful or unreasonable interference with his person or property> is more directly involved in this area of criminal law enforcement than in most others.