Shoplifting is on the rise, and it’s no longer just a problem that affects retailers. The prevalence of self-checkout theft in the United States is staggering, and it’s only getting worse. Inflation and economic malaise have contributed to the increase in theft, but retailers are far from powerless to stop it. According to recent statistics, approximately 27 million people in the United States engage in shoplifting, with 1 in 11 Americans admitting to the crime. What’s even more concerning is that 25% of shoplifters are underage, and 75% are adults. This powerful reminder highlights that shoplifting is a concern that impacts people of all ages and needs to be addressed immediately.
Retailers have been forced to take action by implementing new security measures that might end being, let’s say, a little unsympathetic for honest costumers, including the use of dedicated security guards to watch over self-checkout registers. However, these measures have not been enough to prevent self-checkout theft from increasing at an alarming rate.
Removing the Full-Size Carts: Is That a Solution to the Self-Checkout Theft Crisis?
Many stores have even gone as far as barring customers with full-sized carts from using self-checkout lanes, only allowing hand-held baskets. This move is in response to the fact that it’s easier to hide unscanned goods in a large cart, which has led to more brazen theft.
Despite the increase in shoplifting, retailers are hesitant to discuss the issue. “Theft is a taboo subject among grocers,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax focused on the food industry. Complaining about the problem can alienate a customer base that already has animosity toward big-box grocers, which has led to the rise of self-righteous thieves banding together on social media platforms to share advice on how to steal effectively.
Why Some Stores Are Treating Every Costumer as a Potential Thief
But these thieves fail to realize that their actions are hurting law-abiding shoppers the most. Grocers offset their shoplifting losses by raising prices, according to Charlebois. As a result, customers who follow the rules and pay for their groceries are paying more for the actions of those who choose to steal.
This increase in self-checkout theft is a call to action for both retailers and law enforcement. And they’re taking some desperate actions. Have you ever tried to use the self-checkout at a store, only to feel like you’re being watched like a hawk the entire time? If so, you’re not alone. It seems like more and more stores are treating every customer as a potential thief when it comes to self-checkout.
According to a recent study, retailers lose billions of dollars every year due to theft at self-checkout machines. These systems were intended to stop thieves but, instead, they increased the crisis. But there are other stores that take a more balanced approach, using technology like non-visible cameras and sensors to monitor the self-checkout area without making customers feel like they’re being watched. They may also provide clear instructions and support to help customers navigate the process successfully.