Why Do People Steal?

The most obvious reason people steal is because they can't afford the item they need or want. However, people steal for other common reasons, including a feeling of deprivation, a compulsive disorder known as kleptomania, peer pressure, mental health problems and for a pure adrenaline rush.

Some people who grow up in a poor environment develop a built-in sense of deprivation. This feeling may cause them to steal even though they live in a comfortable environment as adults. Kleptomania is a condition where people steal impulsively regardless of need. This disorder is a common explanation for why wealthy people, celebrities and athletes steal when they could easily pay for the product. Some people with this condition see a counselor or therapist to learn to manage their urges.

Peer pressure is a motive in some cases, especially with young people. A teenager may steal after being dared by a group of friends or to gain formal or informal membership in a group or gang.

In addition to kleptomania, people with depression and other mental health disorders sometimes steal as a coping mechanism. Depressed people may steal on certain occasions or dates to distract from undesirable emotions. The depression can mitigate health awareness of consequences.

For some thieves, the adrenaline rush or emotional high that comes with the danger of stealing is the motive.