We deliberately saved our broadcast regarding the addiction to shoplifting for the holiday season. Douglas County, which includes the Omaha community, experiences nearly 7000 shoplifting arrests annually, however; we learned that people shoplift on average 48 times for every 1 time they are caught! This is an addiction; when shoplifters steal, a chemical reaction takes place in the brain, giving them a ‘high’. The ‘high’ becomes the reward, not the merchandise taken. We learned that shoplifters ‘reward’ themselves this way, as they relate better to ‘material things’ than they do to people!
Jeri Schaben, with the Douglas County Community Mental Health Center, recognizing the scope of shoplifting addictions, initiated two peer support groups for shoplifters in Omaha Monday evenings at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on 33 and Lake, and Thursday evenings at Bergan Mercy Medical Center. Shoplifting addiction has similarities to drug addiction, and support groups are an excellent way to begin healing.
We learned that successful former shoplifters develop a WRAP plan, they don’t go shopping alone, they don’t make impulsive shopping stops; they know their triggers and some even avoid temptation by shopping only online. Others will take a trusted friend with them and only shop for the one specific item needed, or will even tell customer service they have a history of shoplifting, and will ask to be accompanied throughout the store!
We understand the challenges of shopping this time of year and the commercial push we are all experiencing. Our congratulations to those who recognize they do have a shoplifting addiction and are willing to take positive steps to overcome their addiction, before the addiction overcomes them. Those peer support groups do work!
To learn more about the addiction of shoplifting, listen to the November 29 Not Alone program by clicking on the play button below or download the file and listen later. To listen to past broadcasts, visit The Kim Foundation Web site Not Alone podcast page.
November 29, 2011 – Shoplifting
Airing every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (CST on station KCRO, channel 660 AM based out of Omaha, Neb.), Not Alone is a live talk radio program focused on behavioral health and recovery. Developed by The Kim Foundation through the support of C&A Industries, Inc., Not Alone works to reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness. The show seeks to assure individuals, families, and communities that they are not alone, mental illness affects us all, hosting a variety of guest from across the country.