The TIER-1 Program’s November 22, 2012 post discussed how individual actions and reactions associated with the commission of retail theft can quickly escalate and result in the death of an alleged shoplifter, store security personnel, store employees or shoppers.

Since that posting, two fatalities involving alleged retail thefts from large retail stores have occurred and been reported: one near Atlanta on November 26 and the other in Houston on December 7. (; These two incidents have received national attention and will probably continue to be the subject of discussions concerning the practices of store security personnel and local police when detaining suspected shoplifters.

Shopifting is not a capital offense, but over the past 10 years there has been an increase in the  number of deaths which have occurred during  the apprehension, or attempted apprehension or detention, of suspected shoplifters. (

To keep some perspective on the number of shopping visits to  larger retail stores, almost one-third of the U.S. population visits Walmart stores in the  U.S. each week. ( That  statistic does not, however, minimize the seriousness of  those cases where customers or security officers are injured or die during the commission of retail theft.

Loss prevention specialists are responsible for using effective methods consistent with the store’s policy, as well as public policy and law, in order to protect the retail merchant’s property and deter shoplifting.  They also are to provide for the safety of the store’s  customers and employees. 

Both tasks have become more difficult during the past 10 years. Whether due to shifting economic or social factors, these challenges require retailers, law enforcement, the courts, and the general public to work collaboratively to diminish the economic, social, and personal  costs of shoplifting.

The Tier- 1 Program provides education, information, assessment, and referral services for first-time arrested retail theft offenders. Its  multi-disciplinary staff  has also provided consultive and research services for more than 27 years to retail merchants, law enforcement, and members of the judiciary who want to establish self-supporting alternative sentencing and intervention services for individuals charged with retail theft.


© Michael J. Pisani 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael J. Pisani and Tier1Program with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.