For most of us, we're not concerned about their gender, race or anything else. It's just the fact that they're are brazen enough to steal, usually right under the noses of management. In many locations, store management and security are hamstrung in what they can and can't do when it comes to shoplifting, particularly when it involves juveniles.
Sadly, shoplifters tend to know this better than anyone. Not only do they know the best and easiest ways to steal from stores, they also know how each store responds along with what items will likely get them in serious trouble the quickest.
This knowledge is not just something adults or professional thieves know, but it's also something that younger kids seem to pick up on quickly too. They also know that if caught, it's unlikely much of anything is going to happen to them because they're minors. That's one reason professional thieves often employ minors for riskier crimes like breaking and entry, drug dealing, and, of course, shoplifting.
As a result, stores lose millions annually, at least on paper. In reality, they simply raise prices to offset the cost of the stolen merchandise, leaving customers to pick up the tab. According to a Forbes article from November of 2022, shoplifting has become nearly a $100 billion dollar "industry" that we, the ordinary consumer, have to pay for.
The magazine, "Loss Prevention", wrote in January 2018 that nearly 55% of adult shoplifters and criminals got their start as juveniles. An article published by the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, stated that nearly 1 in 4 adults started shoplifting between the ages of 12 and 14. Stores lose on average some $45 million dollars a day to shoplifters while law enforcement authorities estimate that approximately 550,000 shoplifting incidents occur daily.of criminal justice professionals acknowledge that shoplifting, often starting out while a young juvenile, go on to more violent crimes which often includes some form gang activity. It's also worth noting that most juvenile shoplifters are white; some 70% according an FBI report.
The Office of Justice Programs reported that between 14% and 30% of juveniles join gangs. Their age range when they join is between 12 and 14, which is about the same age range that youngsters start shoplifting as noted above.
Approximately 39% of black youth living in large cities join gangs compared to 32.7% in the suburbs. 45% of Hispanic or Latino juveniles from large cities tend to join gangs with 51% of those living in suburbs do so.
As for whites, just 9.7% living in big cities are likely to join a gang compared to 9.1% living in the suburbs. Meanwhile, 5.8% of other racial groups such as Asians living in larger cities are likely to join a gang. Just 7.2% of those living in the suburbs will probably join a gang. As an aside, males are far more likely to join gangs than females. However, females gang members are more common in suburban and rural areas, 45.3% and 49.5% respectively.
In 2022, more than 1,300 juveniles between ages 12 and 17 were killed by gun violence with another 3,800 injured. In 2021, the number juveniles killed or wounded by guns topped 6,000. In 2022, 300 kids age 11 and under were killed by gun violence. 700 were wounded.On non-school days, violent crimes committed by juveniles tend to happen between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm.
67% of black families are single parent, meaning that the majority of children lack the guidance of a father figure. 8.6% of black adults are unemployed according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics latest report of 2021, followed by 8.2% for Native Americans. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for Hispanics is 6.8% and 5.0% for whites.
In addition, as of 2021, almost a third of these families lived at or below the poverty line, meaning their mother is likely working and/or their children are being cared for by an elderly grandparent or neighbor, which in effect means little in the way of family structure.
I was recently watching a video on a Twitter site hosted by the Hodges twins, Keith and Kevin. The Hodges are conservative stand-up comics and political commentators (and for what it's worth, they also happen to be black which neither here nor there). I've been watching them for some time now and really enjoy their humor which is mixed with some really insightful social observations.
The video, which included a comment by the Hodges ("kids are being taught to do this shit..."), showed the apparent commission of crime being carried out by four or five wannabe "Jesse James" types. These wannabe gangsters were probably between 9 and 12 years old and male. The crime was a "scoop and scoot" at what appeared to be a neighborhood drug store. The "goods" looked to be petty stuff, mostly chips, cookies, candy and so forth.
In the video you can see a store employee speaking with someone on the phone. The expression on his face is one of disbelief. Apparently the employee, aware of the crime in progress, had shut and locked the store door. Whoever he was speaking with had apparently told him that he couldn't do that and to open the door.Finally, I feel that it's important that I should mention that everyone involved---the kids and employee---were black ( you'll understand why I mention that in a moment).
I could see the expressions on their faces of utter glee of a successful heist. I don't know if this was a spur of the moment job or if any planning had gone into it. Was this a first time "scoop and scoot" or had they or one of gang done it before? Perhaps it was a dare. With kids of that age, it could be almost anything. However, I had just started work on this article so I was already aware of the statistics.
I knew, thanks to the articles and statistics already read, that this little raid should be reason for some concern, not just for the store or its employees, but for the parents, teachers, friends and neighbors of these kids. Being male, a minority, and living in what appeared to be urban environment, the odds of staying out of trouble weren't too good.
As it is, gangs are usually associated with all sorts of crimes (especially violent crimes and drugs), are the most prevalent in cities. Although blacks make up just 13% of the total population, the percentage of illegal drug use among blacks is 6.9% (the national average for drug use among other races is 7.4%), and young males are the most vulnerable.
So as you might expect, I had to make a comment. Here is what I said: "Thieves. Soon, perhaps in a few years, we'll be hearing about how they died. Maybe gang related. Maybe in a shootout with police. Perhaps a homeowner defending their property. And it will be their parents and neighbors bemoaning the injustice of their deaths".
Based on the reports and statistics mentioned above, this is not a remote outcome . A kid laying dead somewhere, the victim of a drive by shooting, gang violence, drug overdose, or a crime gone wrong is far too common. Perhaps instead of being the victim, they got caught trying to rob someone or selling crack and now they're facing prison. Maybe they're the one who accidentally killed someone.
There's a whole myriads of bad results which started innocently enough with some petty theft. Heck, I just saw a video of a group of older teenagers randomly opening bags of chips, Cokes, cookies in a store helping themselves, and then trotting out after obviously enjoying themselves.
Well, you can well imagine the responses I received. According to the Hodge's site, my simple comment generated some 10.9 million views along with 2,452 comments. It also generated 21.6 thousands "likes" and was shared 5,140 times! The vast majority of comments were positive with most agreeing that this kind of behavior could have very serious consequences for these kids.
However, there was a minority of commentators who wasted no time in playing the racist card (which, of course, I'm far from) and making all sorts of racial slurs toward me, alleging that I was stereotyping these kids, that I was wanting these kids die while referring to me as "sick and deranged", an "old white clown", openly wishing I would die or "rot away", and so on.
I suppose this little exercise demonstrates how vicious and reactionary some on the "woke" Left can be. They certainly can't stand a contrarian opinion, at least on this occasion! They demand tolerance, but for them. Not you. They call you "racist" while they're on a racist rant. They claim to oppose hatred, and yet their comments are as vitriol as they can be. They claim they're wanting to avoid an argument while trying to trigger one with name calling, distortions, and not so subtle innuendos and implied threats.
In fact, several excused the shoplifting youngsters by saying they "might be hungry" while others blew the theft off all together as no big deal. Perhaps I should have condoned the theft since I'm white, "privileged", and all that just as they did. But that would be morally wrong.
A few wanted to compared the shoplifting to "mass shootings" (which are obviously unrelated) by claiming that they are routinely carried out by whites to the relative banality of the shoplifters. They also claim that I ignore these type of crimes as well.
To set the record straight, I do routinely condemn mass shooting along with any other form of mass murders including wars over economics in my articles as well as directly online regardless of race, gender or any other factor. Secondly, how would they know unless they regularly read my articles?
Native Americans committed just 3.
There's no question that shoplifting is a serious gateway crime which all of us eventually pay for. Although much of it is committed by adults, those under 17 years of age are responsible for a significant portion. Of those, many wind up on a path no one would wish on them.
Many come from an environment where the odds are already stacked against them---poverty, high crime neighborhoods, single parent households, little to no consistent adult supervision, underperforming schools and few opportunities in their neighborhood. Some are even taught to fear or hate police officers, disrespect teachers, and come to admire gang lifestyle. They see crime and drugs as easy money. But it's also a fast ticket to prison or to a short and tragic life.
We have to do better as a society. While pre or after school programs, especially when those programs can provide some nutritional meals are great, nothing replaces the active involvement of a parent in the daily lives of their kid just as nothing beats a good education. There has to be a refocus of school curriculums to civics, critical thinking and business skills with an emphasis on basic math, proper English, the sciences, and history.
After school and summer programs working in the community is another great avenue for teenagers. Perhaps too is redirecting those about to graduate from high school into the trades. College isn't for everyone and trade schools are a lot less expensive, pay well and have great benefits. It's also an opportunity to opening your own business at some point if that's what you want to do. We have to do better by our kids. What we've been doing is obviously not working.
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