Do self-checkouts increase the risks of accidental theft?

Self-checkout systems are quickly popping up all over stores in North Carolina. They allow you to check your own items out and pay without the need for a store employee to man every register. Instead, most stores have multiple self-checkout stations with one employee who watches over things and who is there if you have a problem or need assistance. Such set-ups, though, do pose a risk for store owners when it comes to theft. 

These self-checkout stations have various built-in features to help deter theft, according to Truno. For example, you may have been in the self-checkout and heard the warning to put the item in the bagging area. This is because the bagging area of the station has a scale that weighs items as you put them into the bags. This helps prevent you from putting items in that you did not scan. However, it is not fool proof. Sometimes items are too light to measure the weight or you have an item too large to put in the bag. There are also cameras that watch what you do at the checkout. 

These features work great for people who have the intention to steal, but more often than not, most thefts at the self-checkout are unintentional. Forgetting to scan an item is a very common mistake that could make you an accidental shoplifter. People who take items through the self-checkout without paying usually do not do it consciously. 

Of course, such accidental theft is less likely to happen if you use a regular checkout with an employee who scans all of your purchases. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 

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