Shoplifting: Men vs Women
Wall New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys serving Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County and all surrounding NJ areas.
Men Like Power Tools, Women Prefer Perfume
Shoplifting is not limited by gender nor age; both men and women — adults and kids, shoplift. However, a large study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry in 2008 found that men shoplifted more than women. A 2005 study revealed that women and men tend to take different items. Women are more likely to take articles of clothing, food and groceries, and perfume. Men were found to be more likely to go for larger, more difficult items to steal including televisions, power tools, and even household appliances.
Men tuck items into backpacks, while women may hide merchandise in strollers, but the potential end result is the same — concealing merchandise can lead to criminal charges regardless of your gender.
Although researchers still argue over what prompts people to shoplift, it is clear that sometimes it is out of need (for items that cannot be otherwise afforded) but for some, especially men, it may be a moment of thrill-seeking indiscretion.
Should All Shoplifters Go To Jail?
Shoplifting is against the law; it is a crime and not a victimless crime. Retailers lose billions each year to shoplifters and the cost is passed along to consumers. But there should be a distinction between those who commit violent crimes or are repeat offenders, and a teenager who, on a dare or a whim, puts something into his pocket and exits a store.
To put things in perspective, in New Jersey, a second degree shoplifting conviction exposes an offender to up to ten years in jail, the same potential penalty for other second degree crimes including:
- Aggravated assault (may be charged as 4th, 3rd, or 2nd degree crime)
- Certain types of sexual assaults
- Drug distribution in smaller quantities
- Manslaughter (aggravated manslaughter is a crime of the 1st degree)
- Robbery (without a weapon; armed robbery is a more serious offense)
- Second-Degree Criminal Homicide
- Second-Degree Murder (murder may also be charged as a 1st degree crime)
- Vehicular Homicide/ Vehicular Manslaughter (may also be charged as a 1st degree crime).
There are behavioral therapies and cognitive therapy treatments available for shoplifters and kleptomaniacs, as well as medications that can help address any underlying mental health issues that may drive a person to shoplift. Peter Berlin, founder of NASP, believes that shoplifters often feel guilty:
“The irony is that most shoplifters who have developed a habit or addiction believe they should be punished according to the law when caught. What offenders often resent, however, is when they are simply thrown into jail with hardened career criminals and are not given the help or support they need to help prevent them from repeating the offense.”
Someone who steals does break that law, but over zealous prosecutors who seek jail time for first-time, or non-violent offenders for shoplifting rather than offering restitution and a chance for rehabilitation may be a punishment that does not fit the crime.
Our Lawyers Can Help
If you, or a family member has been charged with shoplifting, call our law offices today at 732-303-7857 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced New Jersey theft crimes attorney. Or, you may also email our attorneys. We can explain your charges and possible outcomes.
We know the system; we know the law – and we know how to help with your defense.