Shoplifting Inventory

Theories about shoplifters proliferate because shoplifter motivation is complex. Shoplifters, lawyers, counselors, relatives and others offer many rationalizations, motives, justifications and excuses, in their attempts to exculpate or remediate guilt and thereby exonerate the shoplifter. These rationalizations often include:

• Did it impulsively

• An innocent prank

• Response to peer pressure

• A victimless crime

• To be part of the group

• Due to substance abuse

• His/Her friends shoplift

• Everybody does it

Setting "guilt" or legality aside, there is consensus that shoplifter motivation is complex. Most counselors and therapists that treat shoplifters agree that shoplifting is not usually about greed or property. Contributing shoplifting factors are many and include a shoplifting disposition or outlook, peer pressure, impulsiveness, substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse and psychological depression. Research has linked these factors to shoplifting.

It is not by chance that the Shoplifting Inventory (SI) consists of the following seven measures or scales.

Seven Shoplifting Inventory Scales

  1. Truthfulness Scale: Determines how truthful the client was while completing the Shoplifting Inventory (SI). This scale measures denial, problem minimization, attempts to "fake good" and if present, lying.

  2. Shoplifting Scale: Measures a person's attitude, motivation and predisposition to shoplift. A shoplifting mind-set or predisposition is quantified. This scale measures a person's tendency toward or probability of shoplifting.

  3. Peer Pressure Scale: Measures an individuals' susceptibility (sensitivity) to negative (intimidation, taunts, threats, etc.) peer pressure. Refusing to "go along" can foster an acrimonious encounter.

  4. Impulsiveness Scale: Measures one's tendency to act hastily without forethought or reflection. This scale measures the respondents' impulsiveness (actions without a lot of forethought) tendencies.

  5. Alcohol Scale: Measures, when present, the severity of alcohol (beer, wine and other liquor) use or abuse.

  6. Drugs Scale: Measures, when present, the severity of illicit drug (marijuana, crack, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, heroin, etc.) use or abuse.

  7. Self-Esteem Scale: Reflects a person's explicit valuing and appraisal of self. It incorporates an attitude of acceptance-approval versus rejection-disapproval.

The Shoplifting Inventory (SI) is designed specifically for shoplifter assessment. The Shoplifting Inventory (SI) has 141 items and can be completed in 25 to 30 minutes. The Shoplifting Inventory is scored on-site with printed reports available within 2½ minutes of data (answers) entry. The Shoplifting Inventory has a high fifth to low sixth grade reading level.

Advantages of Screening

Screening or assessment instruments and tests filter out individuals with serious problems that may need counseling or treatment. This filtering system works as follows:

Shoplifting Inventory Risk Ranges

Risk Catagory

Risk Range Percentile

Total Percentage

Low Risk

0 - 39%


Medium Risk

40 - 69%


Problem Risk

70 - 89%


Severe Problem

90 - 100%


A "problem" is not identified until a scale score is at or above the 70th percentile. These risk range percentiles are based on standardized data and researched on Shoplifting Inventory (SI) tests. This procedure is fair and avoids extremes, i.e., over or under-identification of problems.

A court, probation department, assessment agency or treatment program’s policy would refer clients with severe problems (11%) for further treatment. In the above example eleven percent (11%) of the shoplifters screened would be so referred. Problem risk scorers would benefit from shoplifters anonymous classes or group counseling.

Budgetary savings (dollars) would be large with no compromises in needy shoplifters receiving appropriate services. Indeed, more needy shoplifters would receive help. Without an objective screening program there is usually more risk of over or under-utilization of additional professional services.

Reliability and Validity

The Shoplifting Inventory (SI) has a built-in proprietary database that insures inclusion of all tests administered in a confidential (no names) manner. And, these reliability, validity and accuracy statistics are based on these databases. These research findings are reported in the research summary document titled "SI: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." SI scales maintain high reliability coefficients.

For example, coefficient alphas for SI scales are reported below for 1,037 shoplifters screened in the year 2002.

Reliability of the SI (N=1,037, 2002)

Shoplifting Inventory Scale

Coefficient Alpha

Significance Level

Truthfulness Scale



Shoplifting Scale



Depression Scale



Peer Pressure Scale



Impulsiveness Scale



Alcohol Scale



Drugs Scale



All SI scales have alpha coefficients well above the professionally accepted standard of .75 and are highly reliable. All coefficient alphas are significant at the p<.001 level.

Early SI studies used criterion measures and were validated with other tests, e.g., Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) L and F-Scales, 16PF, SAQ-Adult Probation III, MacAndrews, Defendant Questionnaire, etc. Much of this research is summarized in the "SI: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." And, ongoing database analysis (research) is done to evaluate reliability and validity.

SI Test Booklets

Shoplifting Inventory (SI) test booklets are provided free. These booklets contain 141 items and are written at a high 5th to low 6th grade reading level. If a person can read the newspaper, they can read the SI. Questions are direct and easily understood. It takes 30 minutes, on average, to complete this test. SI test booklets are available in both English and Spanish.

SI Database

The SI system contains a proprietary database. All SI used diskettes/USB flash drives are returned to Risk & Needs, and the test data along with related demographics are downloaded into the SI database. This expanding database allows ongoing research and testing program summary capabilities that were not possible before. Ongoing research ensures quality control. Annual testing program summaries provide program self-evaluation.

Built-in Database

Advantages of this proprietary database are many and include database (research) analysis and annual testing program summary reports. Returned diskettes/USB flash drives or online data from a state, department, court or agency can be selected from the database for research analysis. Database analysis insures quality control.

In summary, having all used SI test data centrally located has many advantages. Database analysis permits ongoing cost efficient research that includes scale alpha coefficients, frequency distributions, correlations, ANOVA, cross-tab statistics along with reliability, validity and accuracy determinations.

Unique SI Features

Truthfulness Scale: Identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. It is now known that many offenders attempt to minimize their problems. A Truthfulness Scale is a necessary component in contemporary tests. The SI Truthfulness Scale has been validated with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), polygraph exams, other tests, truthfulness studies and experienced staff judgment. The SI Truthfulness Scale has been demonstrated to be reliable, valid and accurate. In some respects, the SI Truthfulness Scale is similar to the MMPI's L and F-Scales. It consists of a number of items that most people agree or disagree with.

Truth-Corrected Scores: Have been proven to be very important for assessment accuracy. This proprietary truth correction process is comparable to the MMPI K-Scale correction. The SI Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with its other 6 scales. The truth correction equation converts raw scores to Truth-Corrected scores. Truth-Corrected scores are more accurate than raw scores. Raw scores reflect what the shoplifter wants you to know. Truth-Corrected scores reveal what the shoplifter is attempting to hide.

More than just another alcohol or drug test. In addition to alcohol and drugs, the SI assesses other important areas of inquiry like shoplifter truthfulness, shoplifting probability, substance abuse, peer pressure, self-esteem and impulsiveness. The SI is specifically designed for shoplifter screening.

Confidentiality: Risk & Needs encourages test users to delete offender names from diskettes/USB flash drives before they are returned to Risk & Needs. Whether on diskettes/USB flash drives or online, once offender names are deleted, they are gone and cannot be retrieved. Deleting offender names does not delete demographics or test data, which is downloaded into the SI database for subsequent analysis. This proprietary name deletion procedure involves a few keystrokes and insures offender confidentiality. This "name deletion" procedure insures confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501) requirements.

Three ways to give the SI. Whether you are using diskettes/USB flash drives or testing online (over the internet) the SI can be administered in three different ways: 1. Paper-pencil test booklet format is the most popular testing procedure. SI English and Spanish test booklets and answer sheets are available. 2. Tests can be given directly on the computer screen. Some agencies dedicate computers for SI testing. And, 3. Human voice audio in English or Spanish is available. Each test administration mode has advantages and some limitations. Risk & Needs offers three test modes so test users can select the administration mode that is optimally suited to their needs. These three ways to give the Shoplifting Inventory (SI) are explained more completely in the Shoplifting Inventory (SI) web page on

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