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Shoplifting Survey Finds Such Stealing Is Widespread

Four in 10 Americans admit to boosting goods from stores, study shows




Fear of getting caught is a deterrent for many potential shoplifters. PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

More than 40% of American adults report having stolen merchandise from a store at some point in their lives, a recent survey by Express Legal Funding has found. Conducted with the help of SurveyMonkey, the survey drew more than 535 consumer participants, the study provides insights into the demographics, motivations and hesitance related to shoplifting behavior.

“With this survey, we sought to better understand the perspective of the potential shoplifter, and I am confident we succeeded in that,” said author and Express Legal Funding Strategy Director Aaron Winston said.

Some highlights from the survey:

Overall Prevalence

  • 40% of respondents admitted to having shoplifted at least once, indicating that shoplifting is a relatively common behavior among Americans.
  • 66% of respondents in all age groups know someone who has shoplifted before, indicating that this behavior is widespread across different generations.

Gender Differences

  • Women shoplift more than men. 43% of women respondents reported prior shoplifting, while only 37% of men said they shoplifted before.
  • Women are consistently more likely than men to know someone who has shoplifted, with a difference of roughly 10% in each region.

Age Trends

  • The likelihood of shoplifting decreases with age, with the 18-24 age group reporting the highest likelihood of shoplifting in the next two years, while the 55+ group shows the lowest.


  • Financial hardship was the most prevalent and consistently cited primary reason for shoplifting across all demographics (52% overall).
  • Seeking a high or thrill from stealing was reported as the main factor for shoplifting by 19% of the respondents.


  • The most commonly cited reason for hesitation towards retail theft across all regions is the belief that shoplifting is morally wrong or against their religion (70%), followed by the fear of getting in trouble with the police.

Click here for more from the survey by Express Legal Funding.



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