EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Next time you walk into a store, look around, because one in 11 of your fellow shoppers could walk out with something they didn’t pay for. What may be even more shocking, is that experts say one in four kids have shoplifted before.
The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention says more holiday shopping means more holiday shoplifting.
“So all those stressers we all feel on the holidays for a person who is prone to be a shoplifter definitely that would increase the likelihood of shoplifting,” says director of communication at NASP Barbara Staib.
But Staib says kids are also among the crowd of shoplifters, even at grocery stores.
“Its about 25% of the shoplifters that are kids,” she says.
Now to prevent repeat juvenile offenders, Festival Foods says its stepping up its game in a productive way.
“It’s an online education program that teaches them the effects shoplifting have on not only themselves, but the community, retailers, their friends and family,” says public relations director of Festival Foods Michael Siakpere.
He says if a juvenile gets caught stealing, then on a case-by-case basis, the juvenile would go through ‘Say No to Shoplifting’ where he or she is educated about the economic and emotional impact of stealing.
“Then they complete the program online, then they present the information to the District Attorney they've been assigned to, they then review how they did in the class,” says Siakpere.
The program which was first introduced by NASP, gives the DA an opportunity to reduce the juvenile’s fine or even erase it from their record.
“There are so many good students and kids out there that simply just make a bad decision and this is a program that gives them opportunity to redo that decision,” says Siakpere.
The Boys and Girls Club says it believes the program would benefit the kids in the Chippewa Valley in the long run.
“It’s very important for us to educate these kids that what they're doing is wrong because they might not even realize what they're doing is wrong, some of them potentially might not have food at home,” says Tracey Smiskey with the Boys and Girls Club.
Siakpere says the ‘Say No to Shoplifting’ campaign is something kids should not fear.
“It’s something that will help them. It makes them reflect on their decision and it helps them realize how their decision impacts the people closest to them.”