# Something to Realize About Shoplifting, and Never Getting Caught

Submitted by sudo in Shoplifting

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# sudo OP wrote on April 5, 2018 at 3:23 AM

You either get caught or you don't.

"If I roll this die, it will either land on 4, or it won't. Chance has nothing to do with it."

Do you see what's wrong with that argument? Yes, it will either land on 4 or some other number, but you can't know the outcome until after the die has been rolled. So, until you actually roll the die to see what number it lands on, there is a 1 in 6 chance that it will land on 4, and a 5 in 6 chance that it won't, assuming a six-sided die. But if you keep rolling the die over and over again, eventually you'll get a 4. So, if your goal is to never get a 4, you should try to roll the die as little as possible.

The same goes for shoplifting, and never getting caught. If you don't care about getting caught (which you should), then shoplift all you want. But if staying out of jail is more important than getting your hands on whatever item you desire, then don't shoplift it, or only do so when your odds of not getting caught are maximized. My point is, the more times you shoplift, the higher the chances of you eventually getting caught become.

# LiftinLooknLikeASnack wrote on June 12, 2018 at 10:03 PM

Hey, i gotta give you credit. I took Business Statistics in college and statistics are no joke. Thanks for the time and thought you invested into this post.....

# Whatchagonnado wrote on July 21, 2018 at 8:30 PM

I agree with you, but statistically, don’t your chances start over each time. It’s like a coin with caught or not caught on each side.

So every time I flip that coin, I have equal chance at either side.

I see your point about never rolling a 4, but statistically, there is no greater chance at any time, because stats don’t work that way- now I’m about to contradict myself.

It’s the same as you’re saying if you have unprotected sex a lot. Each time you have the same odds, but doing it more times means you’re more likely to get the hiv.

That’s why this is a little bit confusing for me.

Happy to hear how to resolve this is my mind.

# sudo OP wrote on July 23, 2018 at 1:51 PM

I agree with you, but statistically, don’t your chances start over each time.

Yes, that is correct. For each individual coin flip, your odds are always 50% heads, and 50% tails. But, what we're talking about here are multiple coin flips. We want to know what the odds are of flipping a coin twice, and never getting heads. Here are all the possible outcomes, with H representing heads and T representing tails: (H, H), (H, T), (T, H), (T, T). You can see that there is only one outcome out of four that doesn't have any heads in it. So, the probability of flipping the coin twice and not getting heads 1/4, or 25%. Notice that if you multiply the individual chance (1/2) by itself however many times you're flipping the coin, you get the chance of never getting heads for that many coin flips. So, to flip it three times and never get heads has a chance of 1/2 * 1/2 * 1/2 = 1/8, or 12.5%. Four times is (1/2)^4 = 1/16, or 6.25%.

Let's say your odds of not getting caught while shoplifting are 99%. So, if you only plan to shoplift once in your lifetime, then you would go with the individual odds, or (99/100)^1. But, if you plan to shoplift 100 times, then you would go with (99/100)^100, which is a 36.6% chance of never being caught.

Did that make sense?