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
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 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.
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,
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.
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