Seattle's "Operation Super
Booster" – A City Wide Approach to Organized Retail Crime
Over the next few Daily's, we're going to
report on this new approach to ORC which began last April and has had a lot of
success. Today, we're presenting their actual business plan:
Historically, the Seattle Police Department
has focused on Organized Retail Crime (ORC) one target at a time. This is
primarily due to manpower constraints. Precinct Burglary Units have case loads
that demand that the majority of their time is devoted to case preparation. Even
when they do have the time, they are not set up for proactive undercover
operations. The Pawn Shop Unit's case load is similar. When time allows, the
unit may conduct an ORC sting operation – typically no more than a couple per
year. The Major Crime Task Force has conducted few ORC operations, but has
conflicting case priorities.
For years, the Pawn Shop Unit has had on its radar multiple ORC target locations
that warranted a targeted investigation and the number of locations continued to
grow. The problem seemed a truly uphill battle, until in early April 2011, both
West and North Anti Crime Teams (ACT) requested assistance from Pawn Shop Det.
Kaffer. These Anti Crime Teams were aware of 4 new ORC operations in their
areas. West and North (ACT) have developed intelligence on targets they would
like to initiate investigation. However, they do not have the experience or
expertise in conducting these types of cases. The Pawn Shop Unit currently has 2
detectives covering all of the city's pawn shops and used goods dealers. The
practicality of heading up even 1 more location was improbable.
The Pawn Shop Unit designed a new concept in
combating Organized Retail Crime in Seattle. For the first time, the Pawn Shop
Unit is partnering with pro-acts units from each of the 5 Seattle precincts to
attack the growing number of Organized Retail Theft operations at the same time.
These teams include Anti Crime Teams from the North, South, Southwest, West
Precincts, and the East Precinct 2nd Watch Bike Unit. This large scale
operations is called "Operation Super Boosters." The Pawn Shop Unit will have
the responsibility for coordinating the overall investigations, ensuring the
case file preparation meets the filing standards of the King County Prosecutor's
Office. The Anti Crime Teams and Bike Unit will be conducting the actual
undercover operations, follow up paper work, and any search warrants that are
served at the conclusion of the investigations.
This operations was broached early on to the
chief's office, and they have enthusiastically given their support to the
operational concept. The response from each precinct has been impressive. All 5
Teams are ready and motivated to aggressively pursue a criminal investigation
into their target locations.
The King Co. Prosecutor's Office has already met with Case Managers and the Pawn
Shop Unit, and they are also very supportive of the operation.
We intend to complete the 5 operations
simultaneously so as to maximize our positive media exposure. The Success of
Operation Super Boosters will have a deterrent effect throughout the greater
Metropolitan Seattle area. Businesses engaging in similar activities will be
more hesitant to continue to purchase stolen merchandise from boosters in the
future. They will know that they are subject to criminal and civil sanctions
that will make the seemingly profitable transactions less attractive.
At the conclusion of Operation Super
Boosters we plan on immediately moving onto 5 new targets. We will be able to
smoothly transition into the new operation by using the same 5 teams; they will
then have the experience in ORC as well as the motivation. Our ultimate goal is
to make ORC investigations an integral part of each individual precinct's crime
Our Current targets are fencing items which
are taken from grocery stores, electronic stores and home improvement stores
from all over the Seattle area. The Seattle Police Department recognizes the
importance of establishing a strong partnership with local retailers to make
this operation a success. The Seattle Police Department will supply extensive
manpower coordinating and executing this operation while referring to your
expertise and utilizing your product for the sting operations. In doing so we
are confident we can make a significant impact in the ORC problem in the Seattle
Area benefitting both you and the City of Seattle.