Stealing from businesses and homes negatively affects society on many social and economic levels. Businesses raise prices and increase security. Taxes may increase for everyone. There is an added burden on police and courts, and people become distrustful, fearful and isolated as local crime levels rise.
Businesses deal with the threat of stealing from both shoplifters and employees. When a business loses a significant amount of revenue to crime, it is forced to increase prices to offset the loss. The implementation of security cameras, metal detectors and guards is meant to reduce theft.
A loss of tax revenue due to stealing can mean taxes are higher for everyone. In addition, both customer and employee morale can be negatively impacted by a chronic shoplifting problem. Prevailing paranoia can impact business. People can be unfairly suspected to be thieves based on race, age or appearance. This problem can persist in individual stores and in society at large.
Robbery and home invasion causes a similar increase in security measures. It can drive property values down when a neighborhood gains a reputation for high crime levels. The atmosphere of fear affects relationships among neighbors, and families become more isolated.
Local police and courts also become bogged down with cases of petty theft, which can impact their ability to prevent and prosecute more serious crimes.