Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This study consisted of three experiments designed to reduce the shoplifting rate of targeted merchandise in retail establishments without adversely affecting sales. In the first two experiments, attempts were made to replicate earlier findings suggesting that identifying frequently stolen merchandise would reduce its theft rate. In addition, signs were posted in locations where shoppers contemplated or carried out the act of shoplifting in order to achieve generalized reductions in shoplifting. Neither the signs identifying frequently stolen merchandise nor the signs identifying locations used by shoplifters had a consistent impact on any of the target merchandise. The third experiment was designed to eliminate several problems of the initial two experiments by minimizing measurement errors, ensuring the prominence of the signs, and focusing solely on evaluating the signs identifying frequently stolen merchandise. In this final experiment, the shoplifting rate of the targeted merchandise was lower during periods when the signs were posted than during baseline periods. Simultaneously, the sales rate of the merchandise was not affected. The results are discussed in terms of the factors relevant to the potential effectiveness of anti-shoplifting signs.