Because shoplifting is often seen as a victimless crime, it makes sense that it is one of the most frequent misdemeanors committed by teens and young adults. However, simply because shoplifting is a misdemeanor doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be taken seriously — there’s alarming evidence that shows shoplifting may very well be a gateway crime for kids that leads to other more serious crimes. Here’s what you need to know.

Over Half of Adult Shoplifters Started As Teens

According to a study conducted by the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, 75% of shoplifters are over the age of 18 and 25% are juveniles. Out of the adult shoplifters, 55% of them — over half — report that they first started shoplifting when they were much younger.

Most Juveniles Know Their Peers to Be Shoplifters — and Still Hang Out With Them

89% of kids who were surveyed for the report published by NASP reported that they knew some of their peers to be shoplifters. 66% of those kids admitted to spending time or hanging out with shoplifters, even if they did not engage in the crime of theft themselves.

Most Juveniles Who Steal Say That It’s Difficult for Them to Quit

Shoplifters often report that they get a “high” or adrenaline rush from shoplifting and getting away with it — which to them, has more value than the actual merchandise they stole. Because of this, 33% of juvenile shoplifters, or one-third, say that breaking the habit of shoplifting is hard for them to do — even after getting caught.

Almost One-Third of Prison Inmates Started Out as Shoplifters

According to Shoplifting is Stealing! by Judy Whalen, 30% of people in prison admitted that they started their criminal careers with the seemingly innocuous crime of shoplifting. This means that shoplifting very well could be considered a “gateway crime” to more serious crimes later on in life.

How to Help Your Child Overcome Shoplifting Charges

As a parent, it’s a natural instinct to want to protect your child from the New York criminal system, even when they’ve clearly committed a crime. Some parents choose to let their child face the natural consequences of what they’ve done, however, a simple childhood mistake could lead to lifelong consequences.

Ensure that your child’s best interests and rights are being protected by consulting with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after learning of your child’s predicament.  At Schwartz & Krysinski, LLP, we have the skills and resources to help. Call for a consultation today at (718) 643-9333.