Northern Community Mediation manages two programs relating to shoplifting.
First-Time Offender Shoplifting Program
As an outgrowth of the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), the prosecuting attorneys and Northern Community Mediation worked collaboratively by implementing the First-Time Offender Shoplifting Program. There are two phases to the First-Time Offender, Shoplifting Program.
During the first phase, the offender must complete the requirements of the basic VORP. If the victim is willing, the offender has a face-to-face meeting with the victim. The offender is also required to write letters of apology: one to the victim and a second one to his/her parents if the offender is a minor. The offender must also pay restitution as ordered by the court.
Upon successful completion of the first phase of the program, the offender advances to the second phase. This includes attending two discussion sessions with other first-time shoplifting offenders, participating in a town visit, fulfilling at least eight hours of community service, watching an instructional DVD, discussing the impact of shoplifting with his/her parents (if minors), demonstrating remorse, and paying a nominal fee.
It is important to note that the First-Time Offender, Shoplifting Program is a matter of privilege and not entitlement. If an offender does not meet the standards of the program, his/her case is turned back to the prosecutors office for review of the authorization of charges.
Preventative Shoplifting Program
In order to be proactive in combating the impact shoplifting has on a community, Northern Community Mediation (NCM) has developed a Preventative, Shoplifting Program targeting fourth-grade students in the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District service area. The intention of NCM is to go into every fourth-grade classroom in the public, charter, parochial and private schools on a yearly basis.
There are four components to the program. The first is a jug that contains candy bars. The significance of this display is to help the children visualize the fact that for every $1,000 shoplifted, a merchant must sell 900 candy bars per week per year in order to recoup his/her losses.
The second component is a power point presentation that addresses questions, such as1) What is shoplifting? 2) Why do people shoplift? and 3) What are some of the facts about shoplifting?
The third component is an audiovisual DVD produced by NCM that depicts the consequences of shoplifting.
The final component is an activity book that the students work on during the presentation and then take home to share with their parents.