Police dealt with 10,345 shoplifting offences in South Yorkshire last year.
In one month alone, 1,799 incidents were recorded, with property worth £162,500 stolen.
A new police campaign has been launched with posters showing criminals behind bars.
A dedicated webpage has been launched giving crime prevention advice to traders and details of food banks for those with financial problems.
Chief Inspector Gwyn Thomas, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Sometimes shoplifting may seem like the only option that you have to provide for your family but it could make your situation worse.
“The reality is that by making a bad decision you could find yourself behind bars leaving your family to cope on their own.
“I would urge people to think very carefully about the many other ways in which support can be given rather than resorting to crime.”