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171 counts of shoplifting recorded in Stoke-on-Trent in January

Shoplifting – the act of stealthily taking items from a shop without payment – is an incredibly common crime and a particular scourge of lawfulness in Stoke-on-Trent. Police crime maps show 171 counts in January 2020 alone in the Hanley Park & Shelton area, with 52 counts in Boothen & Oak Hill during the same span of time.

Shoplifting rates are often tied with poverty since this non-violent offence is frequently seen as an easy path to immediate gain. Shoplifting is also often an impulse crime, with the average offence involving very little planning.

Other reasons for shoplifting include the thrill of minor criminal action, which may explain why celebrities like Winona Ryder, Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan, and Anthony Worrall Thompson, who was arrested for cheese theft in 2012, have all been caught shoplifting.

To combat shoplifting, many smaller shops have an absolute policy on reporting theft, and video recording equipment has become standard in some retail areas to prevent this individually minor but overall costly behaviour.

Shoplifting in Stoke-on-Trent is likely to rise, as the economically disadvantaged area has all the risk factors for impulsive, gain-based criminality, including high unemployment and a lack of affordable housing. Unless Stoke’s fortunes can be reversed by positive governmental action, it’s likely that shoplifting will remain a part of everyday life for the foreseeable future.

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