The Legislature finds that shoplifting and employee theft have reached near epidemic proportions and that efforts to control these criminal offenses through traditional methods have proven unsuccessful and costly to both the general public and to business.
The existing criminal justice system is overcrowded and burdened thereby causing unreasonable delay. Continual use of the criminal justice system for shoplifting and employee theft offenses creates a further strain on an already overcrowded criminal docket, thereby requiring more tax revenue to pay for a continual expansion of the criminal justice system.
The continuous growth of shoplifting and employee theft cases in the face of traditional efforts to control these offenses represent added cost to retailers which, in turn, is passed on to the consumer in higher prices. Additionally, the merchandise lost to theft is not converted to profit in the form of sales for the retailer which results in millions of dollars in tax revenues lost.
Therefore, the Legislature deems that the utilization of an alternative form of deterrence to eliminate shoplifting and employee theft which avoids the stigma of a criminal record is more desirable than the present system.