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Theft is a topic which is ostensibly rich with excitement, and therefore is prime fodder for television, movies, books and songs, but little has been written about the psychology and treatment of theft offenders. Below is a list of books written on this topic.
Contemporary Books Written about Stealing:
Bibliography of Theft Related Books:
- Abelson, Elaine S. 1989b. When Ladies Go A-Thieving: Middle Class Shoplifters in the Victorian Department Store. New York , NY : Oxford University Press.
- Baumer, Terry L., and Dennis P. Rosenbaum. 1984. Combating Retail Theft: Programs and Strategies . Boston , MA : Butterworth.
- Belson, W.A. 1975. Juvenile Theft: The Causal Factors. London : Harper & Row.
- Berry , Joy W. 1982. Let's Talk About Stealing. Newark , NJ : Peter Pan Industries.
- Bowlby, John. 1947. Forty-four Juvenile Thieves: Their Characters and Homelife . London : Bailliere, Tindall and Cox.
- Cameron, Mary Owen. 1964. The Booster and the Snitch: Department Store Shoplifting. New York , NY : Free Press of Glencoe.
- Carpenter, Cheryl, Glassner, Bruce D. Johnson, and Julia Loughlin. 1988. Kids, Drugs, and Crime. Lexington , MA : Lexington Books.
- Carr, Dan. 1984. God, I need to Talk to You About Stealing . Concordia Publishing House.
- Carroll, John, and Frances Weaver. 1986. "Shoplifters' Perceptions of Crime Opportunities: A Process-Tracing Study." In The Reasoning Criminal , edited by Derek B. Cornish and Ronald V. Clarke, pp. 19-38. New York , NY : Springer-Verlag.
- Cobb, William Ervin. The Economics of Shoplifting . Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University , 1973.
- Cornish, Derek B., and Ronald V. Clarke. 1986. The Reasoning Criminal: Rational Choice Perspectives. New York , NY : Springer-Verlag.
- Crow, Wayman J. & Bull, James L. 1975. Robbery Deterrence: An Applied Behavioral Science Demonstration . La Jolla , CA : Western Behavioral Sciences Institute.
- Cupchik Ph.D., Will. 1997. Why Honest People Shoplift Or Commit Other Acts Of Theft. Canada : Tagami Communications.
- Curran, Debora A. 1984. "Characteristics of the Elderly Shoplifter and the Effects of Sanctions on Recidivism." In Elderly Criminals , edited by William Wilbanks and Paul K. H. Kim, pp. 123-141. New York , NY : University Press of America.
- Edwards, Loren E. 1958. Shoplifting and Shrinkage Protection For Stores. Springfield , IL : Charles C Thomas.
- Elquist, G.J. 2000. Shoplifting Stories: From the Inside Out . Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris Corporation.
- Erickson, Rosemary J. 1996. Armed Robbers and Their Crimes. Seattle , WA : Athena Research Corporation.
- Farrell, Kathleen L. and John A. Ferrara. 1985. Shoplifting: The Antishoplifting Guidebook. New York , NY : Praeger Publishers.
- Feeney, Floyd. 1986. "Robbers as Decision-Makers." In The Reasoning Criminal , edited by Derek B. Cornish & Ronald V. Clarke. New York , NY : Springer-Verlag.
- Fein, Sherman E., and Arthur M. Maskell. 1975. Selected Cases on the Law of Shoplifting . Springfield , IL : Charles C. Thomas.
- Feinberg, Gary. 1984a. "Profile of the Elderly Shoplifter." In Elderly Criminals , edited by Evelyn S. Newman, Donald J. Newman, Mindy L. Gewirtz, and associates, pp. 35-50. Cambridge , MA : Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain.
- Feinberg, Gary. 1984b. "White Haired Offenders: An Emergent Social Problem." In Elderly Criminals , edited by William Wilbanks and Paul K. H. Kim, pp. 83-122. New York , NY : University Press of America .
- Francis, Dorothy B. 1980, Shoplifting, The Crime Everybody Pays For. New York, NY, E.P. Dutton, Inc.
- Goldman, M.J. 1998. Kleptomania. New Jersey : New Horizon Press
- Griffin, Roger. 1988. 25 th Annual Report: Shoplifting in Supermarkets . Van Nuys , CA : Commercial Service Systems.
- Hall , Jerome. 1935. Theft, Law And Society. Boston , MA : Little, Brown, and Company.
- Hoffman, Abbie. 1971. Steal This Book. New York , NY : Grove Press.
- Houseworth, Steven. 2002. The Psychology of Stealing: The truth about why people steal .
- Kaufmann, Arthur C. Combatting Shoplifting . Operations Division, National Retail Merchants Association, New York , 1974.
- Klemke, Lloyd W. 1992. The Sociology of Shoplifting. Westport , CT : Praeger Publishers.
- Lesser, Ellen. 1989. The Shoplifter's Apprentice. New York , NY : Simon and Schuster.
- Macdonald, John M. 1980. Burglary and Theft . Springfield , IL : Charles C. Thomas.
- Murphy, Daniel J. I. 1986. Customers and Thieves: An Ethnography of Shoplifting. Aldershot , England : Gower.
- Patterson, G. R. 1980. "Children Who Steal." In Understanding Crime: Current Theory and Research , edited by Travis Hirschi and Michael Gottfredson, pp 73-90. Beverly Hills , CA : Sage.
- Rehm, J. & Servay, W. 1986. Bank Robbery from the Perspective of the Bank Robber . West Germany .
- Sennewald , C.A. 2000. Shoplifters vs. Retailers . California : New Century Press.
- Shulman, Terrence D. 2004. Something For Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery. Haverford , PA : InfinityPublishing.com.
- Sklar , Stanley L. 1982, Shoplifting: What you need to know about the law. New York , NY , Fairchild Publications .
- Segrave , Kerry 2001. Shoplifting: A Social History . Jefferson , North Carolina , and London : McFarland & Company, Inc.
- Walsh, D. P. 1978. Shoplifting: Controlling a Major Crime . New York , NY : Holmes and Meier.
- Walsh, Marilyn E. 1977. The Fence: A New Look at the World of Property Theft . Westport , CT : Greenwood Press.
- Weiner, Norman L. 1970. "The Teen-Age Shoplifter: A Microcosmic View of Middle-Class Delinquency." In Observations of Deviance , edited by Jack D. Douglas, pp. 213-217. New York , NY : Random House.
- Witkin , Georgia . 1988. Quick Fixes and Small Comforts: How Every Woman Can Resist Those Irresistible Urges. New York , NY : Villard Books.
- Ziolko, H. V. 1988. "Bulimia and Kleptomania: Psychodynamics of Compulsive Eating and Stealing." In Bulimia: Psychoanalytic Treatment and Theory , edited by Harvey J. Schwartz, pp. 523-534. Madison , CT : International University press.
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Shoplifting is not a crime, it is a euphemism for the word stealing or theft, and theft is a crime. I'm not sure why our culture allowed the word "theft" to be different for someone who steals from a store, but the effect has been to minimize its seriousness in the mind of the shoplifter, our society and, interestingly, the police. It would seem logical for someone who is shoplifting to minimize the seriousness of this crime by calling it "shoplifting", but for the police to be swayed to this way of thinking is no less sacrilegious than for an American citizen to allow the euphemism, "casualty of war" to replace the word "death", minimizing the sacrifices of our Veterans.
The same point can be made of the term "petty theft". Doesn't the word "petty" conjure up notions of insignificance, unimportance and irrelevance? It almost appears the police and our society have fallen victim to a very successful propaganda campaign intending to minimize the seriousness of theft from a store by calling it "shoplifting". Actually, if you take time to think about it, whether the item is stolen from a store, your employer, or, has great or small value, it is still stealing. It is also a statement about the shoplifters character.
I don't work for a store or retailer and I do not spend my time trying to show retailers how to better protect themselves from shoplifting with cameras, mirrors, electronic tags, security personnel, etc. I spend my time helping theft offenders think through their actions, attitudes, values and beliefs. Working with most people who steal is not all that difficult. What I have discovered through theft offender counseling is that most theft offenders have relatively transparent thinking errors. For example, if you believed 2 + 3 equals 6 you would have a thinking error. Your thinking error would not readily be identified, (How often do you do math out loud or in front of someone, and, to take it even further, how many people are willing to confront you with your math error?). However, once this thinking error is identified, you would be quick to self correct.
There is also such a thing as a "cultural thinking error." One common cultural thinking error occurs when we minimize the impact of shoplifting by buying into the notion that if someone is "shoplifting", he must be a victim. Common cultural thinking errors are that theft offenders are victims of poverty, poor parenting, hunger, alcohol and drugs, ADHD, peer pressure, etc. The fact is, most people who steal from stores are none of the above and, all people who choose to steal from stores have options to stealing. Oh, kleptomania you say?
People who are shoplifting are not all that different from you and I. Simply stated, the primary differences include, 1) an overdose of selfishness, 2) a stronger than normal attraction to the forbidden, 3) thinking errors you and I don't have, and, most of all, 4) they don't self punish the thought of stealing.