This is about what I have done, what I have completed and what I will never do again. This is about one of the worst things someone could possibly do in their lives. I now realize this, and I can see how horrible and cruel it is to commit. It had become a habit as the second time came around, which is never a good habit to pick up on. I had done this because I knew I did not need what I shoplifted, and it was easy to not spend mine or my parents money on since I had only wanted what I had taken. It was not a wise decision and now I am sure of this statement. As I had said, it was an easy habit to focus on and undertake in but now I am sure I will not operate this behaviour again. I realize doing this can and will ruin my life and can take away from my future. (ie. job, life, family) I realized this has created much senselessness throughout my family and is going to for a long period of time. I realize this isn’t about me and my friend Gillian anymore, but all about me and my actions. This is about me needing to take responsibility and continue throughout to my consequences. The problem with stealing is that what a person has taken does not belong to them. Whether it was a friend’s, a store’s or anyone/anywhere else’s, it is still based upon the same problem. It starts off as thinking “no one would notice” “it’s a small item” “it doesn’t matter” but in reality, it does matter. Even if it’s once piece of gum, someone notices. It’s a crime no matter how big or small you stole was, how many things you’ve stolen and/or how many times you have stolen. No matter what store, area or from what people. It’s a way to lose trust, privileges and more. It’s a huge mistake that is taken under as nothing. It is seen as irrelevant. Just because it is seen like that, most people will do it for fun, being pressured into or for other reasons. Shoplifting can cause a 15-20% increase in prices over a 2 year time period. This decreases the bottom line profits of a company. The bottom line is what is left after all the expenses have been paid. Imagine a person has stolen from a big or small shop, and the owner has gone or will be going to sleep terrified because of your actions. Maybe the owner had thought that this one day you stole something small, for example a box of cookies, or in my case lip balm, and the next day they return to steal they bring a weapon or they steal one of the most valuable things the owner controls. Imagine an employee, whether it be minimum wage or the highest earning income, losing their job because of a crime a person has committed. Some people may think your possessions represent your work. What you own you obtained by investing your time, talent, and effort into owning. When someone steals an object from you, it is not only just the object that they have taken. It is also all the valuable time and work that you had possibly put into creating, owning or selling that object. A person has simply taken what you have worked so hard to achieve. A person has taken what you wanted. People have and will spend money to defend themselves, to make sure no one will come near and steal. Stores and shops do the same with security and systems. While I am known as the thief, a lot of people may not put a stereotype towards me. I do not want to be known as a thief or the one person who can’t be left alone because something will always be gone once I leave. I do not want to be the person turned to once something goes missing, just because I have the record as “now” I’m the suspect. As much as I wish and don’t want to become this person, unfortunately I am. I am because these are the first most natural consequences for stealing, apart from legal and other work. Before I first stole from a store, I did not think what would or could happen from this. I did not think about how it would’ve ended, the consequences and more. These would’ve been good habits to think about, and I will tell others these questions if they ever have the thought of stealing. I did not think about my future and the trouble I could’ve gotten into. I will remind people to play it out and to think about how the results will be in the end. I didn’t think about how it would affect my family, friends and other important people in my life. I did not think about how they would feel if I had stole from them or how they would feel when they found out I had stole. I should be grateful that I do indeed have what I have and yes, I could have asked for what I had taken. If someone as old as my sister, 7, or younger would have stolen, they could have not known what they have done. Children the age of 3, 4 or even 5 can take small things like toys, candy and more unintentionally but would have put the item(s) back immediately after realizing what they have done. This was not my case, and I am aware that it is not. Neither was my case taking something from a hotel room, which me or my family would have been paying for, for example some Kleenex or a small sample shampoo bottle. My case was not stealing food because my family did not have enough money to pay for any, either. My case is stealing some things I had wanted, and could have asked for. My case is something dull and irresponsible, something foolish and irrelevant. My case is stealing lip balm. My urge came out of nowhere, and I can’t, won’t and aren’t blaming anyone or keeping anyone responsible for my bad habit. The addiction I had gotten was from only one time prior, or two times stealing in total, which my brain had clicked to and was left wanting more of. Almost as if I had thought I was lacking it all. I am extremely grateful to still be here, as of today, October 30th, with my family. Living with a roof over my head, food in my stomach and so much more. I am actually extremely thankful that this had happened. This is a wakeup call to me. A wakeup call that was well needed. I am happy that this happened, that I was caught now. It was better sooner than later, better yesterday than if it had continued to next week, month or possibly even year. Yes, I was terrified, scared and nervous but I am happy that this has happened. I am happy that stealing did not turn into an addiction that I possibly wouldn’t have been able to discontinue or stop. The guilt from shoplifting can stay with me forever, but I am hoping it will not. I am hoping my brain and body will learn from my mistakes and direct me to a better and safer future. I am hoping I will be able to improve. I am hoping I will be able to do all of this, because I will and am trying to. I understand I have hurt my family members, and have hurt stores’ profit’s. I had taken containers of lip balm worth not even $5 each, and I understand the stores I have taken them from have lost much more than $5. From doing some small research, I have found out 25% of shoplifters are adolescents and 75% are adults over 18. 72-73% of adults and juveniles do not plan to steal, just act impulsively. 89% of teenagers say they know others who steal, and 66% say the associate with them. Only 3% of shoplifters are professionals, which makes me realize doing a crime like this influences my far and near future. The 3% of professionals who steal make up 10% of the total dollar losses. Even after being caught in the act, 57% of adults and 33% of juveniles say it is extremely hard to stop. The statement said makes me very nervous, following habitual thieves steal on an average 1.6 times a week. (All research done on National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, NASP) If for a reason, a person is with another person who is stealing, they are also held responsible for the crime. This is because they are an accomplice. I have learned that when you steal once, you WILL steal again. A habit should form after being done 2-3 times, or continuously for 21 days. In this case, it was not anywhere close to being similar to that. After one time, it can and will become an addiction. It is almost as if you complete the crime once successfully, your brain thinks it can do the same for a second, third or however many times. It is a addiction never to try to accomplish even once. I have learned that after being charged with grand theft, and receiving a felony charge for the felony offense, you are labeled a thief. Once this happens, it is practically impossible to get a job. On every job application I would now be required to mark “convicted felon” and the reason being “theft”. No one is going to want a thief working for their company. If I do somehow manage to get a job I will be constantly monitored as if I were in prison, because I wanted lip balm. On college applications I will have to mark down “convicted felon” and “theft” as the reason. It would be hard to get a job anywhere, it will also be extremely hard to receive a decent education. This is all because you wanted to steal. When I will be looking for a place to live, a landlord does a background check on me, the crime that I had committed at 13 will be shown. Now, who would want a “thief” living in the same neighborhood as them? Not many people, I am assuming So the other neighbors will complain about it too. My personal relationships are going to be affected to, the people living around me, or not, will view me differently, once they know I am now a “thief” and they will be very cautious with their belongings when I am around them. Therefore, since I have learned from my mistakes, I now know to 1. Choose my friends wisely, 2. Make sure my friends don’t steal at all, especially when I am around them and 3. Tell and warn people not to steal if they ever have the thought of this. I have done this mistake. I have done this pity. I have done something wrong and now it is my responsibility to fix what I have done. I am sorry. It will not happen again, and I am sure of it.