We’ve all heard of shoplifting. This is a well-known retail crime that most brick and mortar stores have practices in place to prevent or watch out for daily. The items stolen are usually for personal consumption. However, there is a growing type of retail crime that has victimized 92% of companies surveyed by the National Retail Federation – called organized retail crime.
Organized retail crime (ORC) is defined as when items are stolen by groups of two or more people with the intent to resell it. It can happen anywhere, no matter if the business resides in a large metropolitan city or a small rural town. The bad news is, ORC is on the rise.
Businesses must be proactive and prevent this type of mass theft before it happens or be prepared to take massive losses.
Types of Retail Crime
When most people think of retail crime, they think of shoplifting. But that is usually done by a single person, stealing for themselves. When compared to the damage done by ORC, shoplifting is the least of a retail store’s problem.
ORC is big business and can occur before merchandise makes it to a store. It usually presents as the following types of theft:
- Gift Cards
- Cargo theft
ORC is on the rise because the ability to resell and move product has increased. In fact, losses averaged $777,877 per $1 billion in sales, which is an increase of 7% from 2017’s previous record of $726,351.
Watch and Prepare
Loss prevention departments throughout the U.S. are banding together with local state and federal law enforcement agencies to “stop the bleeding”. Although there are 34 states that have ORC laws, there is no federal law regarding these types of crime syndicates. It is up to loss prevention departments to implement safe guards to deter ORC. Below are some ways to watch and prepare:
- Install and maintain live video surveillance
- Keep stores properly staffed and train staff to provide good customer service and interact with customers
- Identify “easy-to-steal” items and strategically place within the store (e.g. gift cards should be placed within sight of the checkout)
- Lock and/or monitor entrances/exits
- Utilize GPS-tracking devices when transporting goods
- Form partnerships with local law enforcements & retail competitors
Being aware, using sound judgement and partnering with law enforcement and other businesses are essential to preventing organized retail theft. Overall, there must be diligent awareness and action to address the growing likelihood of ORC, especially over the holiday season.
Timothy Dimoff – Speaker, National Expert, Author
Tim Dimoff’s engaging and thought-provoking presentations are sure to enlighten, inform and move you into taking action on such critical issues as workplace risks, substance abuse, security and societal threats. Feel free to contact Tim today to speak at your organization.