It’s easy to stereotype college students and assume that some of the millions of dollars worth of shoplifted items every year are stolen by these students. After all, college students are notoriously poor, as they try to get through school with only part-time jobs, and some people assume shoplifting is done out of necessity. Another common stereotype is that this is a crime often committed by young people, so those between 17 and 23 seem like prime suspects.
But is that true? It’s actually a bit off base. This shows why it’s never wise to assume.
First off, let’s consider age. Some studies claim that the average shoplifter is between 35 years old and 54 years old — well beyond typical college age. Other stats note that “kids” only make up a mere quarter of all shoplifters.
You can also do away with the myth that those who are in a lower income bracket are more likely to steal. They’re not. Studies have found that financial pressure — i.e., needing a fundamental item that you can’t afford — did not play nearly as big of a role as most people think. Psychological factors are actually to blame. People who steal tend to have more income and more education. This suggests that they simply do not think it is a big deal or that they are doing it for other reasons, such as wanting the adrenaline rush that goes along with committing a crime.
If you’re a college student who has been accused of shoplifting, are you actually being stereotyped by people who don’t know what the “average” shoplifter really looks like? These are still serious allegations, and you must know what defense options you have.