The Student News Site of Redwood High School

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Photo Essay: Boys’ varsity tennis sweeps Archie Williams in MCAL semifinals
Photo Essay: Boys’ varsity tennis sweeps Archie Williams in MCAL semifinals
Molly Gallagher April 18, 2024

On Wednesday, April 17, the boys’ varsity tennis team dominated their match against Archie Williams in the semi-finals of the Marin County...

Photo Essay: Girls’ varsity lacrosse dominates Branson in a sentimental senior day matchup
Photo Essay: Girls’ varsity lacrosse dominates Branson in a sentimental senior day matchup
Emma Rosenberg and Penelope Trott April 18, 2024

On April 18, the girls’ varsity lacrosse team battled against the Branson Bulls in a blowout senior day matchup. Prior to the start of...

 embracing his coach senior Auden Braden celebrates his final MCAL regular season game
Boys’ volleyball dominates Marin Catholic on Senior Night
Richard Byrne April 18, 2024

On April 17th, the boys’ varsity volleyball team faced off against Marin Catholic (MC) in a Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) game. The...

The shoplifting problem in Marin is real and affects us all

It’s safe to say that most of us have witnessed a friend shoplift. I know I have. A good friend of mine went through about a four-month-long phase of stealing whatever they could get their hands on from Sephora. Whether it’s in cosmetic, grocery or retail stores, shoplifting can be found everywhere and is actively harming our community. It needs to be seen as a bigger issue in Marin.

Teenagers shoplift for several reasons, whether as a result of financial difficulty, peer pressure or simply for the thrill. According to a September Bark survey, 22% of Redwood students have intentionally shoplifted. Of that 22%, 67% had the money to pay for the item. Clearly, for the majority of people shoplifting in Marin, financial difficulty isn’t the primary reason. 

The real reason why students resort to stealing is peer pressure and thrill. Teenagers often crave validation from their friends, and shoplifting, in some cases, can give them that feeling of acceptance. Bored and looking for excitement, some teens steal for the dopamine rush.

Illustration by Nadia Massoumi

Ultimately, it can be gathered that shoplifting is harmful for our community. It is causing local stores and businesses to raise their prices and even to shut down. Half of small business owners surveyed in September 2022 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that shoplifting has gotten worse in the past year, while 46% said they had to raise prices as a result of shoplifting. Looking at Marin specifically, Crimes and Clearance files from the California Department of Justice report that there were 19 monthly reported shoplifting incidents in November of 2020, compared to over 60 in November of 2022. 

However, this isn’t just an issue that affects Marin County. This pattern has been observed across the state. Shoplifting rates of items not worth more than $950 increased nearly 29% in 2022, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Moreover, state law holds that stealing merchandise under $950 is just a misdemeanor, meaning that investigations will be overlooked and prosecutors will let the offense go. Because a person is less likely to be charged with theft, the rates of shoplifting have increased. Teenagers are specifically a big part of this issue, as about 25% of shoplifters nationwide are under 18, according to HG Lawyers. 

Andy’s and Lucky’s Markets, the two closest grocery stores to Redwood, have recently closed for financial responses that could very well lie in this harmful trend. In a Feb. Bark survey, 18% of student respondents admitted to shoplifting from Andy’s and/or Lucky’s. But this data doesn’t account for the number of items stolen. It is safe to assume, then, that shoplifting was one of the contributors to the closings of the markets. Sephora in Town Center Corte Madera just hired a security guard to regulate shoplifting. Security guards don’t play a particularly important role in the issue. They aren’t allowed to arrest shoppers even though they are guards by law. Their sole purpose is to intimidate.

No matter how badly you might want an item, it’s not worth shoplifting. What could seem like an innocent act with no reparations is actually harming our communities in the long run. Since these markets have closed, local residents now do not have access to their local grocery stores, and students at Redwood have even fewer off-campus lunch options — all due in part to our student body’s actions. 

If you feel a need to shoplift, you’re not alone. Feeling the need to buy the next “big thing” to fit in with your peers is real, especially in Marin. You can’t escape materialism in Marin culture, and the majority of teens don’t have access to buy whatever they want. People are marketing to teens faster than ever before through social media, and we’re constantly being fed unrealistic standards for what the average teenager should have. This doesn’t mean we should turn to shoplifting. Not only does shoplifting harm the community we live in, but it’s healthy to distance ourselves from wanting everything that is promoted to us. It is healthy to be content with the things we already have. The items you own won’t change who you are or what people think of you but the fact that you are shoplifting them does. 

We all can recognize that shoplifting is harmful, but the effects of stealing even small items are far-reaching and impact us all. When you think you just got a $20 mascara for free, you’re stealing from the community and revoking our privileges. 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Estelle Smith
Estelle Smith is a sophomore at Redwood High School and is a Cub reporter for The Redwood Bark. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and loves playing soccer.