Organized retail crime on the NRF Protect Agenda

Organized Retail Crime on the NRF Protect agenda

With Organized Retail Crime (ORC) at an all-time high, the National Retail Federation is set to discuss the issue in depth at their NRF Protect conference, in June this year.

Hosted in Anaheim, California, the conference will shine a spotlight on all areas of retail loss prevention and asset protection, with a focus on cyber and digital crime, risk management, talent and culture, theft and fraud, and workplace violence.

The event is one of the biggest on the annual US loss prevention calendar, featuring 90 speakers on the agenda, with over 2500 visitors attending the three-day event.

And with ORC now costing retailers $777,877 per $1 billion in sales , this year’s event will also see a panel of experts discussing the impacts and best strategies to prevent Organized Retail Crime.

The ORC threat

In November last year the National Retail Federation released their annual report on Organized Retail Crime. They noted nearly three in four US retailers had seen an increase in ORC in the past year, and for over a third of survey participants that increase was “significant”.

Defined by the NRF as “the large-scale theft of retail merchandise with the intent to resell the merchandise for financial gain”, ORC contributes to the growing impact of shoplifting, which US retailers note is their top source of inventory shrink. In total shoplifting accounts for 35.7 per cent of retail loss.

The survey found ORC losses over the past year had risen seven per cent on 2017 to equal $777,877 per $1 billion in sales.

ORC in the news

In the past month alone the implications of ORC have been hitting the headlines. On May 8, the Orlando Sentinel reported six people were arrested in Polk County, suspected of stealing and selling an estimated $2 million worth of retail merchandise from across the state.

“The six are suspected to be responsible for 150 reported thefts in the state from Burlington, CVS, JC Penny, Publix, Walgreens and Winn-Dixie, acting between four and five nights a week and hitting eight to 10 businesses each day, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The suspects were arrested after the PCSO Organized Retail Crime Unit conducted a large-scale undercover investigation with partners.

Meanwhile on May 17, the Manteca Bulletin reported three Stockton residents were arrested and charged with the felonies of conspiracy and grand theft after a tip-off from a suspicious retailer.

And that’s just the tip of the ORC iceberg, with the crime affecting retailers across the country.

An expert panel

It is incidents like these which an expert panel will discuss at the NRF Protect in a session on June 12 entitled “ORC: Aided and abetted with a little help from my friends”.

The session will feature law enforcement officers along with ORC specialists from the retail sphere.

“The sophistication and brazenness of organized retail thieves pose new challenges to retail investigators trying to track them down,” the NRF Protect agenda notes.

“With ORC rings working multi-state and multi-regional territories, it is imperative for retailers to enlist all the assistance they can, both from other retailers and from local law enforcement agencies.”

NRF Protect runs from June 11 to 13 and will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center.