The global recession isn’t just making jobs scarce and tightening spending — it’s also turning more people into thieves. According to an annual survey released on Tuesday, incidents of shoplifting rose nearly 6% over the past year, representing nearly $115 billion in losses for businesses. One of the more surprising findings: a growing number of new shoplifters are outwardly reputable, middle-class people who are walking off with French cheeses, quality meats, cosmetics, mobile phones, clothing and other goodies that they feel they need to maintain a quality of life they can no longer afford. […]
Though Bamfield says theft by organized criminals for the purpose of resale remains the biggest segment of shoplifting, there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of middle-class people stuffing their pockets — people who are not “stealing necessities to keep themselves and their families alive,” he adds. Worse still, more than a few of these individuals regard this kind of stealing in the economic crisis as fully justified, as the researchers discovered through interviews with shoplifters and police.
“Though most thieves rationalize their acts, the current situation has many people feeling the entire system is broken, that politicians are too corrupt or inept to fix it, and that there’s nothing wrong with stealing from these big companies and fancy stores that — the thinking goes — are themselves making out like thieves,” Bamfield explains. “There’s a real perception among many new shoplifters that if you work hard, put money away and play the game, you’re asking for someone to come along and rip you off.”
(via Global Guerrillas)