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Stop: Should You Arrest That Person?

NCJ Number
Security Management Volume: 31 Issue: 9 Dated: (September 1987) Pages: 52-58
H Williams; B Forst; E E Hamilton
Date Published
7 pages
Shoplifting is a major security problem that poses difficult arrest-release policy problems for companies.
Shoplifters are apprehended at a low rate, are unlikely to be reported to police or arrested, and are unlikely to be tried and sentenced when arrested. Moreover, a study of the power of arrest to deter shoplifting, involving 1,593 cases, showed no significant differences in recidivism rates for those arrested than for those apprehended and then released. However, arrest did have a significant effect in deterring recidivism among juvenile shoplifters, who comprised 37 percent of the total sample. Results suggest the need for store security personnel to apply arrest sanctions selectively. Implementation of new policies in chain stores in the jurisdiction studied, based on these findings, is believed to have helped cut company shoplifting rates by more than 10 percent. Illustrations, 4 exhibits, and 9 footnotes.