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Unmasking Organized Retail Crime:
Strategies for Countermeasures

Organized Retail Crime (ORC) has emerged as a significant threat to the retail industry.

According to the 2022 National Retail Security Survey, there was a 26.5% spike in ORC between 2020 and 2021 and 70% of retailers surveyed believed the threat of ORC had increased during the past five years.

Big-box retailers and large-format grocery stores are especially vulnerable to ORC gangs as most items are unsecured inside the store and the staff cannot be actively manning every corner of the store. Recently, the CEO of Target announced that ORC may contribute as much as $500 million in losses in 2023.

The impact of organized retail crime extends beyond financial losses for retailers.

Organized retail crime poses multi-dimensional threats to retail chains:

  1. Affects consumers through increased prices

  2. Poses safety risk due to stolen and tampered goods

  3. Imposes additional strain on an already stretched law enforcement

  4. Undermines the overall security and customer experience

The absence of comprehensive federal legislation specifically targeting ORC, the high cost of deploying loss prevention teams specifically to target ORC gangs, combined with the decriminalization of low-level offenses in certain states, has created an environment where the benefits of engaging in such criminal activities far outweigh the risks.

This blog post explores the factors contributing to the surge in ORC and proposes effective countermeasures to mitigate this escalating problem.

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