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NCJ Number: 49082 Find in a Library
Title: JUVENILE SHOPLIFTERS AND THE ORGANIZATION OF STORE SECURITY - A CASE STUDY IN THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF DELINQUENCY
Journal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY AND PENOLOGY  Volume:6  Issue:2  Dated:(MAY 1978)  Pages:137-160
Author(s): D MAY
Corporate Author: Academic Press Ltd
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Academic Press Ltd
London Nw1,, England
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: INTERVIEW DATA FROM STORE PERSONNEL IN NINE RETAIL STORES IN NORTHEAST SCOTLAND ARE PRESENTED TO ILLUSTRATE THE PROCESS BY WHICH A CATEGORY OF JUVENILE DELINQUENCY, SHOPLIFTING, IS CREATED THROUGH SOCIAL CONTROL AGENTS.
Abstract: CHARACTERISTICS AND QUOTES FROM STORE SECURITY AND MANAGERIAL PERSONNEL SHOW HOW THE STRUCTURAL AND IDEOLOGICAL FEATURES OF THE SOCIAL CONTROL SYSTEM, RATHER THAN SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS OF CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF THOSE LABELED SHOPLIFTERS, ARE CENTRAL TO ANY EXPLANATION OF SHOPLIFTING, AND BY EXTENSION, EXPLANATIONS OF DEVIANCE IN GENERAL. DEVIANT ACTS ARE ONLY SO LABELED AS A RESULT OF SOME OBSERVER GROUP DRAWING ATTENTION TO THE BEHAVIOR, SPECIFYING ITS LAW-VIOLATING NATURE, AND THEN TAKING SOME ACTION TO INITIATE A LAW ENFORCEMENT PROCESS. THE PROCESS IS ONLY IN PART PROMPTED BY THE INCIDENCE, PREVALENCE, AND PERCEIVED SERIOUSNESS OF THE BEHAVIOR ITSELF. IT IS EQUALLY DEPENDENT ON SUCH CONTINGENCIES AS THE COMPOSITIONS AND IDENTITY OF THE OBSERVER GROUP. THE MANNER IN WHICH THAT GROUP ORGANIZES ITS ACTIVITIES, AND STEREOTYPIC ATTITUDES CONCERNING THE NATURE OF THE BEHAVIOR ITSELF AND THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE WHO TYPICALLY INDULGE IN IT. FACTORS WHICH ULTIMATELY INFLUENCE THE APPLICATION OF THE SHOPLIFTER LABEL INCLUDE THE GENERALLY UNKNOWN QUANTITY OF SHOPLIFTING LOSSES INCURRED BY A STORE, THE NEED TO BALANCE COST OF SECURITY AGAINST THE OVERALL PROFIT PICTURE, THE WILLINGNESS OF THE SECURITY STAFF TO MANIPULATE THE SHOPPER/SHOPLIFTER LABELS IN A MANNER WHICH DISCOURAGES THE ASSUMPTION OF THE SHOPLIFTER ROLE, THE DISTRIBUTION OF STAFF AS A DETERRENCE FACTOR, THE DEMEANOR AND SOPHISTICATION OF THE SHOPLIFTER, THE LEGAL CONSTRAINTS WHICH SUBJECT STORES TO POTENTIALLY COSTLY DAMAGE SUITS FOR ERRONEOUS APPREHENSION, THE NEED OF SECURITY PERSONNEL TO APPREHEND SHOPLIFTERS AS PROOF OF THEIR EFFECTIVENESS, AND THE SELECTIVE ATTENTION GIVEN TO CERTAIN GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS AS A RESULT OF STEREOTYPES OF POTENTIAL SHOPLIFTER CHARACTERISTICS (I.E., GROUPS OF ADOLESCENT GIRLS, UNATTENDED CHILDREN, FOREIGNERS). VIRTUALLY ALL OF THESE FACTORS ARE LIKELY TO WORK AGAINST THE POWERLESS, LOW STATUS GROUPS OF WHICH CHILDREN CONSTITUTE A PRIME EXAMPLE. NOTES AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (JAP)
Index Term(s): Attitudes; Business security; Case studies; Deterrence; Deviance; Discretionary decisions; Discrimination; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile theft offenses; Labeling theory; Role perception; Scotland; Shoplifting
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=49082

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