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Shoplifter Profiling

 Posted on September 15,2016 in Shoplifting, Robbery & Burglary

San jose theft crimes lawyerDoes profiling exist? It would be very difficult to argue that it does not. However, there are various forms of profiling; some are discriminatory while others can be useful tools. When it comes to shoplifter profiling, even to FBI agents will agree that, when appropriately used, profiling can be used to catch and prevent theft. However, if incorrectly practiced for shoplifting prevention, the profiling can be leveraged against a business in a court of law.

Useful Profiling

Without conscious decision, many of us often profile others. The behavior is a tool that is ingrained in us, perhaps as a survival instinct. Typically, profiling is directly linked to the behavior characteristics of others. For instance, if a stranger is in a dark alley hiding behind a dumpster and they pop out and run towards you, the first thought that comes to mind is not often that the approaching stranger wants a hug. An instinctual decision is made that is based on previous behavior, perhaps what they were wearing, and any other factors you can decipher at the time. If this person mugs you, you, in turn, may be leery of other people hiding behind dumpsters in dark alleys in the future, regardless of what their real intent may be.

Over the years, crime prevention officials have developed behavior characteristics to help them hone in on individuals potentially perpetrating a crime. For instance, those who may be stealing may exhibit the following conduct:

  • Standing alone in a secluded aisle;
  • Carrying around open shopping bags; and
  • “Shifty” eyes - looking around to make sure no one is watching.

Negative Profiling

Shoplifting behavior is universal. It is a crime of opportunity and desire. Profiling should be based entirely on behavior and no other discriminating reasons. Therefore, profiling based solely on any of the following reasons is illegal:

  • Race;
  • Gender;
  • Clothing; or
  • Age.

Unfortunately, shoplifter profiling does still exist. There even is a store that specifically has a “code 3” for every time there is an African American shopper in the facility, even though only 15% of their shoplifting is estimated to be committed by African Americans.

If you have been arrested for shoplifting and feel that you are a victim of shoplifter profiling, it is best to consult with a legal professional. If you are interested in discussing the details of your case with an experienced and proven Santa Cruz, CA criminal defense attorney, contact John J. Thornton, Attorney at Law today at 831-426-5800 or 831-566-4357 to schedule your free initial consultation.



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