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Shoplifting is one of the most common and costly crimes, yet little data exist to determine reliably characteristics of the typical shoplifter or the modus operandi of the crime. It is a crime that has most often been studied using official, secondary data provided by either retail security personnel or law enforcement officers. Reliability issues plague these official data. Continuing the “dark figure of crime” tradition, this study examines shoplifting by covert observation with a camera system installed in a typical suburban retail drug store. A standardized data template was used to record the demographic and behavioral characteristics of shoppers. Significant numbers of shoppers (8.5%) were observed shoplifting. Logistic regression analysis reveals that, while members of some demographic groups shoplifted more often than others, behavioral indicators carried far more predictive power. The methodology and findings are considered within the larger context of the law enforcement and “profiling” literatures.
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... The strength of the eye-tracking device is that by recording exactly what the wearer is seeing, it allowed us to "see thief" in our endeavor to "think thief" (Ekblom, 1995). Past research has generated valuable information about shoplifters' perspectives on security through methods such as interviewing about past offenses (e.g., Cardone, 2006;Gill et al., 1999), recording hypothetical decision making (e.g., Carmel-Gilfin, 2011, 2013Carroll and Weaver, 1986), and covert observations of shoplifters using CCTV (Dabney, Hollinger, and Dugan, 2004). In the current study, participants narrated their thought processes while viewing their own video recordings, which could be paused to ask for clarification or follow-up questions. ...
... Third, because the eye-tracking device recorded participants' direct lines of sight, we were unable to assess their outward appearances or physical behaviors while they were engaged in shoplifting. This precluded us from being able to draw conclusions about how shoplifters appear to observers or about tell-tale actions that can alert store personnel to shoplifting, such as those made by Dabney, Hollinger, and Dugan (2004). Fourth, although appropriate for a qualitative study, our sample was small and largely composed of college students. ...
... For example, smuggling might involve concealing items on a person or in luggage, behavior which is unlikely to occur when the individual is being observed. The use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras is one way to capture some overt responses that occur while people are engaged in criminal acts (Dabney et al., 2004), but even with camera use, not all relevant responses will be captured (e.g., carrying hidden contraband). Smugglers traveling through borders might engage in the same behavior as people who are not smuggling (i.e., it is difficult to determine who might be carrying contraband just by looking at people). ...
Detection dogs are used at border controls as an antecedent intervention to deter the smuggling of contraband. However, there is little research that has explored how the presence of dogs might affect passenger behavior. We observed passengers' behavior at a port when there was an officer alone, an officer with a dog, and an officer with a dog wearing a florescent yellow jacket with "police" written on it for increased salience. We measured eye contact, vocal-verbal interactions, facial expressions, and nonvocal verbal gestures toward the officer and dog, and changes in passenger direction. Passengers looked, talked, and had the highest frequencies of positive facial expressions when the dog was not wearing a jacket. However, passengers looked toward the dog the quickest and had the highest frequency of negative facial expressions and gestures when the dog was wearing a jacket. We discuss how these findings might inform antecedent interventions to address undesirable behavior such as smuggling.
... The recording allows real-time documentation of the shoplifter's journey as they navigate the store and make decisions in search of items to steal. The real-time video provides both visual footage and audio streaming of the shoplifter's decision-making that is not possible with previously used methods, such as verbal protocol in which participants walk through a store and talk hypothetically about shoplifting (see, e.g., Carmel-Gilfilen 2013; Carroll and Weaver 1986) or covert observations of shoplifters via closed circuit monitoring (Dabney et al. 2004). The video recordings thus serve as valuable memory prompts during the interview process. ...
... Since early research on the dark figure of crime, more recent investigations consistently document that far more crime, violence, and victimization occurs than legal authorities are aware of, and this is true whether the focus is cybercrime (Tcherni et al., 2016), shoplifting (Dabney et al., 2004), hate crime (Pezzella et al., 2019), stalking (Bouffard et al., 2021;Brady & Nobles, 2017), serial murder (Quinet, 2007;Yaksic, 2020), or sexual crime (Abel et al., 1987;Drury et al., 2020;Koss et al., 1987). In some cases, hundreds to thousands of criminal episodes and victimizations occur with the majority of those events never resulting in arrest. ...
Although research on the dark figure of delinquency has produced valuable quantitative estimates of its size, prior research is mechanistic and atheoretical about the conceptual underpinnings of the crimes that go undetected by the juvenile justice system. Drawing on data from 253 adju-dicated youth in residential placements in the Midwestern United States, the current study found that youth self-reported over 25 delinquent offenses for every one police contact. The dark figure of delinquency has a wide distribution with some youth reporting upwards of 290 delinquent offenses per police contact or arrest. Youth who exhibited more psychopathic features, who displayed temperamental profiles characterized by low effortful control and high negative emotionality, males, and those who were older had larger dark figures of delinquency. Findings provide support for general criminological theories that invoke psychopathy or temperament as important individual-level drivers of delinquent conduct, much of which never results in juvenile justice system intervention and thus never achieves legal resolution.
... VDA also creates an 'incomparably richer record' (Jordan & Henderson, 1995, p. 52) of situational details that occur during dynamic criminal events while reducing researcher bias and enhancing accuracy and validity . VDA has been successfully applied to a variety of crime situations, including violent protests (Bramsen, 2018;Nassaure, 2016;Nassauer, 2018b), robberies (Mosselman, Weenink, Lindegaard, 2018;Nassauer, 2018a), police use of force (Willits & Makin, 2018), drug sales (Moeller, 2018;Sytsma & Piza, 2018), and shoplifting (Dabney, Hollinger, & Dugan, 2004). Combining VDA with other analytic tools is encouraged by Nassauer and Legewie (2018), which will create a robust analysis for understanding criminal behavior. ...
Archival crime data collected by a police agency in Upstate New York from 2008 to 2015; outcome, sentencing, and incarceration data collected by the New York State’s Department of Criminal Justice Statistics; and demographic data collected by the U.S. Census were analyzed to explore how a suspect’s race and sex affect the investigation, prosecution, conviction, and sentencing in larceny cases. Results suggest that Black men were more likely to be the targets of excess suspicion, less likely to be granted leniency by prosecutors, no more likely to be convicted, but, if convicted, more likely to be incarcerated than White men.
L’accélération de la justice pénale est un phénomène bien établi dans les pays européens. Si cette accélération est censée rapprocher la justice du reste de la société, elle est régulièrement décriée tant de l’intérieur de l’institution, car elle mettrait les magistrat·e·s sous pression, que de l’extérieur pour les risques qu’elle ferait porter à la qualité de la justice. Cette thèse vise à éprouver ces critiques en analysant une procédure accélérée allemande, le « besonders beschleunigtes Verfahren ». La recherche a consisté en une enquête ethnographique de dix mois dans un tribunal berlinois et une immersion dans les différents organes de l’appareil répressif, de l’enquête policière à l’audience. Cette recherche, particulièrement attentive à l’activité pratique des travailleur·euse·s du droit, a permis de montrer la singularité de cette filière pénale réservée aux populations vagabondes, qui permet l’audiencement de l’affaire le lendemain de la commission de l’infraction. L’activité des travailleur·euse·s est marquée par le respect des procédures et de la légalité, sans que cela ne s’accompagne d’une disparition de leur pouvoir discrétionnaire et de leur capacité à apprécier les situations. Ces travailleur·euse·s ne font pas face à des impératifs de productivité et n’ont pas le sentiment de manquer de temps. Cette thèse permet alors d’explorer les conditions de possibilité d’une accélération sans précipitation. Tout d’abord, le terme accélération recoupe une pluralité de situations que l’attention portée aux temporalités permet de désigner séparément. En particulier, nous distinguons la réduction des délais et l’augmentation des rythmes, qui emportent des effets différents. Dans le tribunal étudié, l’accélération du temps pénal ne s’accompagne pas de contraintes managériales ce qui permet également de séparer les conséquences de ces deux évolutions récentes de la justice. Enfin, en ce qui concerne les effets de l’accélération nous mon trons que ceux-ci ne sont pas homogènes, notamment en ce qui concerne les rapports au temps des individus en fonction des groupes professionnels auxquels ils appartiennent. Cette thèse invite donc à ne pas penser l’accélération comme un mouvement uniforme, ce qui permet d’envisager conjointement rapidité et qualité de la justice, comprise comme son adéquation aux normes qui l’encadrent.
Many intriguing and socially significant policing research questions center on relatively rare events. Scholars may find few viable options to studying those rare events, limiting the development of research to support scientific knowledge and policy responses. The proliferation of body-worn cameras (BWCs) has produced a unique research opportunity through the creation of video archives documenting how officers interact with citizens and police communities. Researchers have access to aspects of police work and behavior previously available only through resource- and time-intensive methodologies, such as field observation. The allure of using video footage is understandably strong, but the limitations of this research methodology need to be understood and ameliorated. This article examines the use of video to support research, focusing on the methodological implications of this emerging research approach. We offer a case study examining police use of force in an east coast department to illustrate the potential and limitations of analyzing video content.
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This paper established prevalence of the characteristics in the shoplifting crimes and determined the supermarket operators’ perception of the effects of shoplifting crimes on society. The study was guided by three objectives: to establish offender characteristics of the shoplifting crimes, to establish prevalence of the characteristics in the shoplifting crimes and to determine the supermarket operators’ perception of the effects of shoplifting crimes on society. The study was guided by Rational Choice and the Routine Activity Theories. The study used a census sampling technique with a sample size of a hundred respondents. These included 90 junior employees of Tuskys, Uchumi and Naivas Supermarkets, 3 branch managers, 3 police officers within the area of the study and 4 officials of the Nairobi Supermarkets Association. Interview schedule was used to collect data. Data collected was organized, summarized and interpreted thematically by use of graphs, frequency tables, and percentages. The findings revealed that the prevalence of shoplifting was 1-2 incidences in a week. The results also revealed that the most commonly used method was concealing of items which were majorly done by women. Further, whereas there are other types of shoplifters, a concern raised by 30% of the respondents is that significant number of criminals has made shoplifting a career. This should inform policy makers, especially in this era of unprecedented unemployment. Additionally, as indicated by 55% of the respondents, staff colluded with criminals to steal from the supermarkets. This should appeal to supermarket operators as this may have an implication on supermarket businesses in the CBD. The study recommends several target hardening strategies to counter shoplifting crimes that included using high Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) programmed surveillance and records linked to the law enforcement through alarm trigger alerts in case of suspicious activities, with high-quality identifiable traceable images of shoplifters, to local law enforcement agencies.
The characteristics and motivations of adult shoplifters are documented in a survey of shoppers. Results indicated that shoplifting was related to economic and social stresses, depression, perceived deprivation, and rejection of society's dominant values. Implications for counseling are discussed.
Cluster analysis is applied to substance use and delinquency data collected in a longitudinal study of juvenile detainees to empirically derive five groups of youths from information gathered at their initial interviews (time 1): alcohol/marijuana-hashish users, low-level delinquents, alcohol/ marijuana-hashish and cocaine-using nondelinquents, high delinquency, cocaine users, and heavy cocaine-using nondelinquents. The validity of the typology was supported by a variety of other initial interview and follow-up interview alcohol/other drug use and delinquency data, and by recidivism information - including data on arrests during the three-and-a-half years following the date of the youths' first interviews. Research and policy implications of the findings are drawn.
Criminological research and theory generally proceed with the orientation, if not the assumption, that delinquency is the result of some series of events common to all delinquents. While some attention has been given to the concepts of typologies, multiple pathways, and different developmental sequences leading to different outcomes, rarely have these concepts been pursued empirically. This paper uses a typological approach to make a preliminary examination of the existence of multiple paths leading to delinquency. Data from the first two annual surveys of the Denver Youth Survey provide the basis for the analyses. The results support the notion that there is typological diversity in the backgrounds of youth who become delinquent, a diversity which, perhaps, should not be ignored.
This paper reviews the research literature concerning the extent to which studies of delinquency that use official records produce results compatible with studies of delinquency that use self-reports of adolescents. Particular attention is given to sex, race, and social class as correlates of delinquency. The notion that official and self-report methods produce discrepant results with respect to sex, race, and class is largely illusory. In reaching conclusions of discrepancy several techniques have been used in the literature; the most general is the assumption that self-reports and official data tap the same domain of behavior. When the domain limitations of self-reports are recognized (and other illusory techniques are abandoned), the conclusion of general consistency between self-reports and official correlates for sex, race, and class emerges. This consistency and other evidence from victimization surveys, studies of the reliability and validity of self-reports, and studies of biases in criminal justice processing, suggest that both official data and self-reports provide valid indicators of the demographic characteristics of offenders, within the domain of behavior effectively tapped by each method.
Relatively little research has addressed issues related to factors affecting the decisions of victims of crimes to report offenses to the police. Since these decisions have important consequences for offenders, and since official police and court statistics are often relied upon to make inferences about characteristics of offenders and offenses, it is crucial to examine the effects of selective mechanisms such as victim behavior. To this end records of shoplifters apprehended by drug and grocery stores in 1963, 1965, and 1968 were examined. Overall, the decisions of victims to refer shoplifters to the police were found to be more closely related to the value of the goods stolen, as well as to what was stolen and how it was stolen, than to the characteristics of the offender.
A great deal of criminal activity in America goes unrecorded, largely because it is not reported to the police. This pool of unrecorded crime has several consequences: it limits the deterrent capability of the criminal justice system, it contributes to the misallocation of police resources, it renders victims ineligible for public and private benefits, it affects insurance costs, and it helps shape the police role in society. This report examines these problems in light of new crime-victim data gathered in a national sample of the general population. The data suggest that, compared with those incidents which were reported to the police, the reservoir of unreported crime contains a disproportionate number of less serious incidents involving small financial loss, little serious injury, and less use of weapons. Race, in particular, was unrelated to the reporting of crime in the United States in 1973.