CNN: Shoplifting Is Really No Big Deal

(Logan Police Department via AP)

According to Nathaniel Meyersohn of CNN, shoplifting in America is no big deal. Barely an issue. Concern about it is simply a moral panic caused by displaced anxiety about other issues.


Carry on. Nothing to see here.

Nate (can I call you Nate? It is easier to type than Nathaniel) notes that people have always worried about shoplifting and that the concerns tend to amplify anxieties about other issues–linking minor criminal behavior to larger social trends that are the real concerns people have.

These headlines could be from articles today. But they’re from the early 1900s.

While shoplifting has seemingly never been a bigger problem than it is now, shoplifting has long captured the public’s attention. Anxiety over shoplifting is an enduring phenomenon and is often a stand-in for larger concerns of cultural, economic or political changes.

“The figure of a shoplifter may provide for a scapegoat for deeper problems that are more complex and intractable,” James Walsh, who directs the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s graduate program on criminology and justice, told CNN. “It resonates with broader concerns about law and disorder.”

Now I don’t know about you, but the answer to why people hate shoplifting seems much simpler than this complicated sociological explanation that appeals to MSM analysts and sociologists.

People hate crime. Stealing is wrong. Shoplifting makes everybody’s life that much worse. We all feel like chumps when people just grab things and take off.


It is a major breach of the social contract.

It used to be that one could go into a drug store and pick up what you need without having to wait for a store “associate” to get it out of some locked vault. Now, in many parts of the country, that isn’t the case. Walgreens and CVS don’t do this because it is fun, reduces their labor costs (quite the opposite), or because they think customers will quit using Amazon because they love waiting in stores for help.

They do it because shoplifting is destroying their business model. People are avoiding going to stores where it takes 5x as long to purchase toilet paper. Just order from Amazon and be done with it. Which is why stores are closing in big cities.

That’s not how our friend Nate sees it. Nor the Left-wing policy group he relies on.

Although shoplifting increased in some cities during the first half of the year compared to pre-pandemic levels, there is no clear national rise in shoplifting, according to a new analysis by the Council on Criminal Justice, a nonpartisan criminal justice policy organization.

“We see examples on video of behaving badly and it gets invested with all this extra meaning about the collapse of social order,” Vitale said.

Shoplifting has also become a politically charged crime that many on the right and some Democrats have exploited to oppose criminal justice policy reforms.


Let me clue these geniuses in: if there is no point in calling the cops and reporting shoplifting, nobody calls the cops or reports shoplifting. People don’t get arrested, or if they do they don’t get prosecuted. It costs time and money to deal with the justice system and if nothing happens when you report the crime, people quit doing it.

In other words, the statistics tell you nothing. Real-world consequences tell you everything.

Shoplifting reports in 24 major cities where police have consistently published years of data — including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Francisco — were 16% higher during the first half of 2023 compared to 2019, according to the Council on Criminal Justice analysis.

However, excluding New York City, the number of incidents among the remaining cities was 7% lower.

“The overall data doesn’t indicate a great shift in the average shoplifting event, but the brazen ransacking incidents, coordinated on social media and captured on video, clearly suggest that there is a sense of lawlessness afoot,” said Adam Gelb, the CEO of the Council on Criminal Justice.


Our CNN analyst friend wants us to believe that Americans are only concerned about social breakdown, not that there is an actual breakdown of social order. So we imagine that shoplifting is a canary in the coal mine, while in fact it barely happens at all.


Do you think that this Walgreens store called the cops 20x a day, ever day? Or did they just give up and chain the doors closed because the criminals would just be let go anyway?

You decide what is plausible. I know what I think.

Yeah, and perhaps CNN will do a piece on why the Biden economy is actually great, as Janet Yellen and Karine Jean-Pierre keep telling us.

We call this gaslighting, CNN.

Just as with Biden’s economy. The experience is so direct, so unmistakable, and has so large an impact that propaganda won’t work. Just as, in the Soviet Union, nobody there thought they actually lived in a world of fairness and abundance.

Having to wait hours in line for bread can do that, and having to wait for a bored clerk to unlock the razors will do it too.


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