How Technology Is Affecting Shoplifting


Ever since security cameras were introduced as a means of preventing crime and identifying criminal suspects, the technology has had a major affect on petit theft like shoplifting. But this new technology was not always as reliable as modern technology now allows for. The development of hard drive technology, the same technology that allowed Steve Jobs to store thousands of individual songs on the iPod, completely revolutionized the camera’s use in crime detection and prevention, ushering in a new era of practicality and business security owners had never seen before.

How Technology Is Affecting Shoplifting

Early Impact

When security cameras were first in use, viewers were forced to either watch the feed live or find themselves running to the back office to check it over every couple of hours. The reason for this is because the footage had to be recorded on VCR/VHS, which would reset and tape over itself every couple of hours. Nevertheless, the technology did allow loss prevention officers to narrow down suspects by observing odd behavior while shopping, such as someone blatantly putting clothing items in their bag without trying them on first, or the customer that seems to gain a bunch of weight between the time he/she entered the store and the time they left.

Hard Drive Technology

With the development of IT services & support, along with hard drive technology, security camera footage could now be stored for much longer periods of time. In some cases, stores and businesses could now record many months’ worth of footage without having to worry about running out of film in the VHS tape. This allowed investigators to utilize the current, or most recent footage containing evidence of wrongdoing and also review previously recorded footage to look for past crimes and develop criminal profiles. New technology also allowed for multiple copies of the footage to be made, so the police could have footage in their records, and the media could have footage on the local news so citizens could help ID suspects.

The Future

Even though surveillance technology has highly impacted the conviction rate of petit thieves like shoplifters, it is still not a perfect solution. Facial recognition software is now helping to advance surveillance technology for the purposes of reducing the crime rate and amount of labor required to sift through hours of recorded footage looking for past offenders. The problem is, however, that such software is still very expensive, and many retailers, like Walmart, have discontinued using it, claiming it is not worth the return on investment. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that surveillance technology is making the free market safer and more crime-proof than ever before.

Criminal Defense Attorneys are seeing more and more repeat offenses. If you have any legal questions, feel free to contact Beedem Law!

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