Critical review on shoplifting

Critical review on shoplifting






The research study done which is titled ‘research about shoplifting’ was conducted after a security manager found out that too much shoplifting was taking place in the large store. In the research projects, the researcher clearly indicates that shoplifting has become a huge problem for most and close to all shops. It is simply referred to as the stealing of items in a shop. The research study done in this particular shop was the first; none had been done before. Most of the shoplifting cases involve customers though to a minor extent it also involves staff or human workforce in the business. However, despite it being the first time for a research study to be done the researcher did not fully cover the introduction bit. Several aspects such as what items are frequently stolen from the shop, how often does shoplifting occur in the shop, and to what level are goods stolen. In the introduction of the study it would be appropriate to mention what goods are stolen mostly by the customers; are they petty, for example, sweets or undergarments or are they items such as clothes. The other thing that would have been appropriate to mention in the introduction would be how often shoplifting occurring in the shop is; does it occur every day or every week? Such information gives the readers and users of the study a full view of the degree of shoplifting occurring in the shop. Getting to know the amount of items stolen in a day or in a week also is significant to mention because through such information people can rate the degree of shoplifting hence enabling them to determine if it is a serious issue or one that can be handled internally.

In the objective clause, the author states the aim of the study which includes determining the amount of products being stolen, what influence CCTV cameras have on the issue at hand (shoplifting). The research also aims at determining the reason why customers steal things from the shop. The objectives of the study have been clearly stipulated; they are specific and are easily understandable.

After stating the objectives or the purpose of the study, stating the importance of the project would also be appropriate. Getting to understand what significance the study holds gives the research meaning. In this case study the main importance of carrying it is, it will enable the shop management team identify the reason why customers steal hence aiding them in coming up with a solution; the only way to come up with a solution to something is being able to identify the reason why the problem occurs. The second importance of the study is that it will enable the management to identify the amount of goods being shoplifted by the customers and what kinds of products are being shoplifted. This will also enable them to come up with a solution to the problem. Through the installation of CCTV cameras, what influence it has on the problem would be another significance of the project.

In most research studies, an overview of past research studies done is discussed. This aids in comparison and giving the researchers more information about other cases that are related to the current one. A literature review mostly dwells on criticizing and understanding past researches. Some of the other researches done based on the protection and reduction of crime includes the safer city program conducted in the United Kingdom (Berg, 2006). The aim of the program was to reduce crime and to reduce the fear of crime for both commercial and domestic purposes. The program’s strategy involved the funding of a city co-ordinator and their respective team, aided by the government and the police. The project targets a range of crimes which include commercial burglary and domestic crimes. The method used in the project involved the hardening of doors and setting up of city gates, neighbourhood watches were conducted and other methods such as distribution of leaflets to homes. The end result of the project was that the rates of crime decreased after the project was initiated and the degree of the crimes reduced as the level of intensity increased. This proved that the methods used were to some extent effective. Another research project used to decrease crime was the Liverpool city-safe program which strategized the use of gates to enclose alleys. The city council has enclosed over 5000 alleys hence protecting over 100, 000 residents and the project has lead to the reduction of crime in the area as well (Berg, 2006). The repeat victimization research program is aimed at getting to know why certain people become victims of crime repetitively. The program conducted by the Cleveland Police Department in the United Kingdom was aimed at interviewing burglary victims and getting to know where it happened and why it happened. Through this research studies the government department in charge of security is able to monitor and come up with effective ways to reduce the risk of being involved in crime and also assist in reducing crime in the respective areas.

Methodology of the research

The shoplifting research design was thorough as it included both a qualitative and quantitative research design; it involves both the use of questionnaires, official data, and the use of interviews. These are the research methods employed in the project. The author of this research is able to give the contents and the methods of data collection which is a good thing. However there is a shortcoming in the research design as the writer fails to mention who are the participants of the research study to whom the questionnaires will be administered to. This is important to indicate before carrying out the research itself; the author failed to give a comprehensive research design. The management team in this case took part in answering questions about the store and giving out information on statistics about shoplifting in the shop. In the administration of questionnaires the authors friends were the participants (Rumsey, 2004). Official data from the shop gave information about what is the amount of goods that are shoplifted. The research design section also gives information on how the data will be collected, presented and analyzed. The data will be collected through filling in information in the questionnaires; information collected will be written on tables and analyzed by the researcher (Rumsey, 2004).

By observing the records of the shop’s inventory both at the beginning and at the end of the month, the contents were recorded in the organization’s computer system. The information about the shop’s inventory is located in the company’s computer system hence getting the information only required access to the computer. This made it easy for the researcher to get the information saving time and at the same time acquiring accurate records. Through accurate and timely results the final information that the researcher got was valid. The results indicate that the level of shoplifting is high and it increased with every new month. The records were also helpful because they gave the actual figures of the initial and final inventory in the shop and it gave a difference, which signifies the goods unaccounted for (shoplifted). The use of official records, after the installation of CCTV, also provided data that was used to identify whether the installation of CCTV cameras in the shop had any influence on the rate of shoplifting; results indicated that through the installation of CCTV cameras the different between the initial and final inventory decreased drastically. The tabulation of records enables one to compare the results acquired especially if the study does not involve many variables. This makes the method used a proper way to do quantitative analysis of the data collected. All this information given is relevant to the research and it meets the study’s objectives. However, this form of data collection has its shortcomings as well; several errors could occur while the data was being put in the computer records. Cases of calculation errors may have lead to the case of some goods going unaccounted for (Bell, 2005). Collecting information from secondary records may lead to the carrying forward of the initial errors hence giving invalid conclusions. This is one of the limitations of the method used in getting the information about the amount of goods shoplifted. The method does not also give the researcher time to determine if the products were actually shoplifted or were missing because of other factors; the method used to identify the amount is based on assumptions that the goods have been shoplifted giving invalid conclusions. Some of the other factors that may lead to goods missing in a shop are misplacement while putting them on the shelves, disposal of damaged goods without recording the details (Bell, 2005). These become some of the limitations present in acquiring information for research studies from secondary sources. Another imitation of the use of observation as method in this study is that the conclusion might me biased because the researcher has not given the study enough time so as to determine whether shoplifting is the cause of the situation in which goods go missing in the shop. In general when it comes to validity of the conclusions it is not clear. In observation the author should give more attention to the results and should consider other factors which may lead to goods missing in the shop. While making the conclusion the researcher should also consider the other factors so as to prevent cases of biased results.

The other method used by the author to collect information in this research project is the use of interviews. This involves a face to face meeting between an interviewer and an interviewee. The interviewer gets information from the interviewee and it is considered to be a method under qualitative analysis. The author of this research had an informal interview with the line manager Jason Smith, who said that he thinks shoplifting is on the rise and he supported this by saying that the uniformed officers positioned in the shop caught more people every month. Through the interview the author is also able to determine who are taking part in the shoplifting; customers were identified to be the active participants in committing this commercial crime. The second interviewee was Stella Johnson a line manager, she stated that through use of tags as a way of reducing shoplifting the idea was not effective and that it did not make her feel safe. But with the installation of CCTV cameras, she and other women feel safer. This form of interview is considered to be a semi-structured interview where the meeting and questions asked are flexible (Bell, 2005). Interviews are considered to be efficient when it comes to qualitative analysis of data. The advantage of using this form of interview is that the interviewer can redirect the questions towards the main agenda at any time. For example in this research study, the interviewer has managed to ask the relevant questions and those that are related to the topic. It has also enabled the author to capture the feelings and personal opinion of the interviewee based on the shoplifting issue (Rumsey, 2004). It also saves time since note taking is not required and this gives more time to listen and give attention to the feelings and emotional gestures of the interviewee; thus helping the researcher in determining what are the outstanding issues concerning shoplifting. Informal interviews usually provide a free environment hence allowing the interviewee to freely express themselves which is an advantage in getting quality information. The data collected was relevant to the study as it affirmed that shoplifting was on the rise, the results were to a great extent valid; the method allowed the achievement of the objectives. However, with unstructured interviews it is difficult to qualify the data; it may be either of low quality or of high quality. Several limitations are linked to this form data collection, while conducting the interview the interviewer was carrying out other activities thus giving divided attention to the interview (Bell, 2005). This would lead to the missing out on important aspects that would be vital to the study. Another shortcoming of the method of data collection used was that it was allocated insufficient time, the interview duration was small which restrained the study from getting more information that would have helped in coming up with more sophisticated and extensive results. By nature interviews demand a lot of time so as to come up with quality results and valid conclusions. Another limitation of the interview method used in this study is that the author interviewed few people which is not appropriate as it may lead to biased conclusions (Bell, 2005). To get quality results it is required that several people be interviewed so as to allow the comparison of results hence giving valid and quality results at the end of the study. Another limitation of interviewing is that at times interviewees may be biased; they may base their answers on feelings not actual facts. In the shoplifting study the interviewee was exposed to the results before the interview which may have led to biasness; this leads to inaccurate results which lead to invalid results. No data was recorded hence no information is available for future reference (Bell, 2005). The researcher should pay more attention to the interview to prevent omission of vital details in the final results. The interview should be recorded somewhere either using a video, audio recorder, or taking notes; this allows storage of findings for future reference. The meeting should be held during a free day or hour so as to give it more time. Through these solutions better and quality results can be achieved.

The third and final method employed is the use of questionnaires. The researcher set up a few questions relevant to the study and gave out to friends and family to fill in the information; the questionnaires were done online. Generally questionnaires are significant in quantitative analysis as it allows one to collect information through administering questions to a sample of people. In this research study, the use of questionnaires was a good way to get data. However, it was not efficiently done the only correct thing that was done is that the questions asked were relevant to the topic. But several aspects were left out and they all require to be accomplished so as to achieve quality results which will give valid conclusions. The questionnaire that was administered was not appropriate as the researcher did not select an appropriate sample size, hence the results he received would not be an accurate representation of the population (Bell, 2005). The researcher gave it to few family and friends which provides a small sample group, this gives less information. A consequence of this is that the results may end up being biased and less information for comparison is available. With less information to compare it is not easy to come up with quantifiable results that would give valid results. The questionnaire should have been conducted at the site, and not online. The research should have been done in the presence of the researcher so as to save on time and to also enable monitoring of the sample group. With online administration (Bell, 2005), chances are that the people doing it will not give much thought while answering the questions and so long as they are not being timed they may take more time to answer the question. Also the researcher should not have included friends and family into the sample group as this can lead to biased results. Family and friends may tend to support the opinion of the researcher and their judgment is mostly dependent on the other. The format in which the researcher structured his paper was not efficient and within the article it was more personal by utilizing words like you; this leads to greater chances of biased results .The data collected was not presented in a way in which comparisons could be made, that is there were no graphical representations, diagrams, listing of most shoplifted products; this gives invalid results and biased conclusion. While administering the questionnaires the researcher should conduct it in the site of the study, and should involve several people so as to acquire extensive results which can be compared easily hence giving quality results. Use of simple and correct grammar in the questions enables the researcher to administer and formulate proper questions (White, 2009).

The results of the questionnaire, the interview and the observation are consistent to the discussion and data analysis of the research. The research does not raise any ethical problems as it is conducted in an appropriate way, with both genders presented.

The research done was both effective and faulty; with the qualitative and quantitative analysis, the research was properly done. Several faults came in when the researcher uses inefficient ways in the methods of data collection but with the recommendations it would be easier to achieve quality and valid results hence gaining the objectives of the study.


Bell, J. (2005) Doing Your Research Project: A guide for first time researchers in education, health and social science (4th ed), London: Sage 

White, P. (2009) Developing Research Questions: A Guide for Social Scientists Basingstoke: Palgrave

Rumsey, S. (2004) How to find information: a guide for researchers, London: Sage

Berg, L. v. (2006). The safe city: safety and urban development in European cities. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate.