Shoplifting has been on the rise in 2020 as Americans face growing unemployment and food insecurity, according to reports from small businesses and law enforcement agencies.
Forty percent of small business owners surveyed said that since the coronavirus pandemic began, shoplifting has increased, according to a report from Business.org. Philadelphia police information data show reported incidents of theft in retail establishments went up roughly 60% in March and were still elevated in July, The Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, more than 20 million Americans are receiving unemployment aid, and 853,000 people filed new unemployment claims last week alone. Forbes reports that 12 million people will lose their aid unless Congress passes another financial stimulus bill by year's end.
The shoplifting and unemployment statistics are linked.
"There is a well-known historical correlation between unemployment and theft," said Fabian Tiburce, who leads a loss-prevention software company called Compliant IA.
Another expert in the business security field, Aegis chief executive officer Jeff Zisner, told the Washington Post that his company is "seeing an increase in low-impact crimes."
"It's not a whole lot of people going in, grabbing TVs and running out the front door," he explained. "It's a very different kind of crime — it's people stealing consumables and items associated with children and babies."