"Inside us all," contends psychologist Jim Breiling, "there is a streak of delinquency.
"Almost everyone had done things that, if detected, could have resulted in arrest," says Breiling of NIHH's Center for Studies of Crime and Delinquency. "Have you ever driven under the influence, added a few bucks to your expense account, fudged your income tax?"
When looking for the motives for a petty thief, he says, "The question is not 'why do some people do it,' but 'why do some people not do it?'" According to a respected theory of delinquency, Breiling notes, "We'd all do it, if we thought we'd get away with it."
If you think you're guiltless, have you ever:
Taken office supplies home?
Deducted a meal with a friend as a business expense?
Taken anything not meant for removal -- glasses, towels, sugar packets, soap, silverware, menus -- from a hotel or restaurant?
Eaten fruit or candy at the supermarket that you haven't paid for?
Picked flowers, plants or living coral from a public beach or park?
Walked off with a pack of gum or candy bar after searching in vain for a clerk?
Sneaked from one auditorium to another at a multiple movie theater?
Pocketed the money when a clerk gave you too much change?
Made a personal, long-distance phone call from work?