The Founder's Story

The National Association For Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) was originally founded as Shoplifters Alternative (a division of Shoplifters Anonymous, Inc.) by Peter Berlin. He founded Shoplifters Alternative out of his belief that by understanding and addressing the “root causes” of shoplifting, millions of individual lives and families could be improved and a significant reduction in shoplifting could be achieved.

Early in his career as a director of retail security and loss prevention for department and specialty stores, Peter was responsible for apprehending, interviewing, and prosecuting individuals who shoplifted. Through his many interviews he realized that the majority of the people he apprehended were not career criminals but otherwise law-abiding citizens… juveniles, mothers, fathers, grandparents, business and professional people. Most of them had the money in their pockets to pay for the items they had stolen, were humiliated and remorseful when caught and had no idea why they shoplifted. He saw, over and over, how the apprehensions devastated them. The fear, shame, embarrassment and guilt were often too much for them to bear.

Peter Berlin

Peter questioned why people would engage in such self-destructive behavior when it was clearly out of their normal character. After conducting further research he concluded that for the non-professional shoplifter, shoplifting was rarely about greed, poverty or values but rather about individuals struggling with their own personal conflicts and needs, their feelings of entitlement and other underlying issues in their life.

Realizing that there was little public understanding of the shoplifting problem and nowhere for these people to turn, Peter decided to establish and fund a nonprofit organization which would conduct ongoing research, provide educational rehabilitation programs, facilitate self-help groups and become the first national organization dedicated to helping these people turn their lives around and ultimately reduce a serious and costly retail industry problem.

To date, NASP has conducted research with and provided rehabilitation programs to over 200,000 adult and juvenile shoplifting offenders.

Peter Berlin retired in 2005. The extensive shoplifter research and court-sanctioned rehabilitation programs developed by Peter laid the foundation for NASP’s work today.

Meet the Executive Director

Upon Peter Berlin’s retirement, the Board of Directors of NASP appointed Caroline Kochman Executive Director. Her tenure with the organization began in 1993 as Director of Court Services where she played an integral role in the development as well as the distribution of NASP’s court-ordered prevention programs. During her tenure, the organization achieved annual increases in the number of criminal and juvenile justice agencies utilizing the rehabilitation programs which lead to her appointment as Deputy Executive Director in 1998. Under her direction the organization provided its services to more than 1,200 courts and agencies, with over 150,000 individuals participating in its programs, nationwide.

With the foundation for the organization already laid with the research and rehabilitation programs, Caroline’s vision was now on the “bigger picture”. She saw a fundamental need to shift the organizations focus to addressing shoplifting as a community issue – both social and economic. As such, Caroline initiated and guided NASP to the achievement of a fundamental redesign and refocus of NASP’s mission, programs and services from solely research and rehabilitation to include public education, prevention initiatives and paths for community action; with the new organization to be known as the National Association For Shoplifting Prevention or NASP.

Caroline Kochman

Under her leadership, NASP has launched the National Shoplifting Prevention Coalition and has partnered with the National Crime Prevention Council and their icon McGruff the Crime Dog, to launch the Honest to Goodness Shoplifting Prevention Campaign. Caroline and her team actively collaborate with retailers, justice and law enforcement agencies, crime prevention agencies and community-based organizations to translate research into programs, policies and practices for each sector of the community in order to effectively work together to reduce the harmful effects of shoplifting locally and across the country.

Caroline Kochman graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.