Something to Realize About Shoplifting, and Never Getting Caught

Submitted by sudo in Shoplifting

Every time that you shoplift, there is always a chance that you will be caught. This chance is higher for new shoplifters, who might make mistakes. But even if you are an experienced shoplifter, and you do everything right, there is always still a chance that you'll be unlucky.

Let's say you're an intermediate shoplifter. You know to check for anti-theft tags, even inside the packaging. You are very good at concealing in camera blind spots. You can tell when you're being trailed by undercover loss prevention. You also happen to be white. If this is the case, then you have very high odds of success. For the purposes of this example, let's say that you have a 99% chance of not being caught on your visit to the store. That's pretty good. But let's say you make 2 visits to this store (or different stores; it doesn't matter) to shoplift. What are your odds of not being caught either time?

They are 99% * 99%, or 98.01%. That's lower, but still pretty good. If you shoplift 3 times, your odds of not being caught any of those times are 99% * 99% * 99%, or 97.0299%. For each individual time you shoplift, your odds are 99% of getting away with it that one time, but your odds of never being caught ever go down the more you shoplift.

In fact, after 69 shoplifting trips, your odds of never being caught on any one of those trips drop below 50% (0.99^69 = 0.49983703). So even if you are a very good shoplifter who does everything right, after only 69 trips, it is more likely than not that you will have been caught at least one time, assuming odds of 99% for every individual trip.

This is a problem if you need to shoplift frequently. For example, if you have to shoplift groceries every week for the rest of your life, it's likely that you will have been caught after only a year and a half (whereas you may have to stay alive for as many as 60 to 70 years). For groceries in particular, I recommend dumpster diving for them instead of shoplifting, as long as dumpster diving is legal where you live, because that has a 0% chance of you getting arrested. You could do this for the rest of your life without getting in trouble for it.

If you can acquire your desired item for free and at no risk, then do so. Otherwise, if you can't afford it, or don't want to pay for it, only then should you consider shoplifting. When you do shoplift, you should do everything within reason to maximize your odds of success. If you can do something that will give you a 99.9% chance of getting away with it instead of just a 99% chance, do it. Those are far better odds. (What exactly these things are is a topic for a different post.) If you have 99.9% odds of success each time, that will mean it will take 693 attempts for it to be more likely than not that you will have been caught at least once. If you don't need to shoplift that frequently, and you have very high odds of success each time you do, then you could potentially go your whole life without being caught. All of these variables should be incorporated into your personal threat model.

Since a few people here seem to have poor reading comprehension, I'm going to say this before anyone accuses me of it in the comments: I'm not trying to defend businesses by encouraging you not to shoplift when you have other options. I'm trying to defend you, because shoplifting is risky. If you can't bring yourself to buy something from a firsthand store because you know it was made with exploited labor or even slave labor, that's fine. I feel the same way. But for your own sake, if you can acquire that item through less risky means, do so. Dumpster diving is one way. Buying it used from another person may be another, if you can afford it. Only turn to shoplifting when you have no other options.


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____deleted____ wrote

Applying statistics to all situations doesn't really make sense; there's not a chance for it to be a 99% chance, you either get caught or you don't. It depends on the actions you take and those around you, chance has naught to ever do with it.


J1534 wrote

It's either one of two ways, either your store has really good security who actively watch the cameras and patrol the floor or your store has really lazy or sometimes no security depending on the location like if it's in a higher income neighborhood


sudo wrote

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

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

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 wrote

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?


J1534 wrote

Id say I'm still somewhat new of a shoplifter because I've only lifted about 4 times and every time I never lifted more than $30 and even then I've only been stealing things l I need or don't wanna pay for like earbuds or hygiene products and I did even manage to lift a six pack of BL. I didn't just walk into the store and steal I scoped it out and the sections I planned to lift from and figured out when the best times to lift were and determined that I could either go around 5am-7am weekday mornings or anytime after 8pm weekday evenings but I'm still learning how the staffing situation is there on the weekends because some weekends I'll see a lp officer standings near the self chechout but usually I don't and I'm not trying to get caughr because I will not allow a rent a cop to put his or her hands on me and am not afraid to hit them in self defense


Drshoplifter wrote (edited )

I never thought of shoplifting like this. I guess if you do it long enough you’ll eventually get caught.

The hardest to catch are thieves who use GOOD sleight of hand or people who conceal in a large blind spot, where I can’t follow on foot without being seen, some lp will take more risks than others if they don’t see concealment. Although most wont stop you without seeing you conceal, leave as little evidence as possible. I use a bag lined with cardboard so it doesn’t look full when I put things in it. I even stage things in the blind spots so they can’t even get selection on me when I grab it later.

Edit: and they WILL be fired or at least demoted to door greater if they make a bad stop. So they will NEED evidence to make them feel safe about stopping without observing concealment.


DC2342 wrote

You're wrong I'm a professionally dressed white man. I will never be caught.


J1534 wrote

Lol I'm assuming this is a joke because dressing up all nice is a sure fire way to get yourself caught,when I go lift I dress in a pair of jeans a t shirt and a pair of sneakers I dont wear bright colors or anything that will make me stand out to LP who probably don't even give a crap enough to even catch anybody I wouldn't give a crap for $8-$9


DC2342 wrote

How does looking like a peasant benefit you while shopping lifting? To me being in suit & tie is a good measure of camouflage from the capitalist elite.


Drshoplifter wrote

For me, shoplifting is more about getting away with stealing, even when they’re watching me.


LiftinLooknLikeASnack wrote

Thats when the rush is maximum. I enjoy playing cat and mouse w a specific LP guy lol of course i dont steal in his store anymore but i love shit out of faking him out and getting his undies all in a bunch.


zombie_berkman wrote

So a mod of shoplifting is telling people something obvious that there is risk associated with an illigeal activity and to second guess voosting shit and doing simple math. Wow.


PainlessEphemera wrote (edited )

Could you stop stalking /u/sudo? It’s just really creepy.

Besides, isn’t it kind of hypocritical to go on a forum you don’t agree with and stir up trouble, when that’s what you’re accusing /u/sudo of doing?


sudo wrote

Hey, I deleted your other comment in this thread and the replies to it by accident. I was two-finger scrolling down the page, but my browser registered it as a click on the "delete with replies" button. I tried mashing escape, but it went through before I could do anything. I don't think I can restore it, so I'm commenting here for transparency.