New law cracks down on Michigan shoplifters

Sep 25, 2013

Police and prosecutors in Michigan have a new tool in their collective tool bag to help them punish shoplifters.

It's no small problem in this country. The National Retail Federation figures retailers lose upwards of $34 billion each year to retail theft or what's called "shrink." More than half of that is caused by sticky-fingered shoppers or dishonest employees, and the NRF figures that costs you up to $500 each year.

Now, shoplifters in Michigan face the prospect of prison time and fines.

Shoplifting has been moved up from a misdemeanor to a felony called "Organized retail crime" punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of $5,000, or both.

Can we expect this new law to slow down shoplifters? And what about Michigan's already-overcrowded prisons?

Jeffrey Morenoff is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.