Eight in 10 Retailers Agree Organized Retail Crime Activity Has Increased in Past Three Years

Eight in 10 Retailers Agree Organized Retail Crime Activity Has Increased in Past Three Years

Eight in 10 Retailers Agree Organized Retail Crime Activity Has Increased in Past Three YearsSavvy, confident, organized retail crime gangs - who steal billions of dollars in merchandise each year only to sell it online or at physical fence locations - continue to test retailers to the core, oftentimes stopping at nothing to profit from their criminal behavior.

NRF's ninth annual Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Survey found that 93.5 percent of retailers say they have been a victim of organized retail crime in the past year, down slightly from 96.0 percent in 2012. For the past three years, more than 90 percent of the retailers surveyed have admitted to being victims of ORC. Equally disturbing is that eight in 10 (81.3%) believe that, in general, ORC activity in the United States has increased over the past three years.

"We are extremely concerned by the organized patterns that are taking place in the retail industry right now as these crime gangs continue to find ways to maneuver the system," said NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Rich Mellor. "Though retailers continue to make great strides in their fight against organized retail crime, savvy, unconscionable criminals are selling stolen merchandise for a profit that doesn't belong to them. With the types of organized retail crimes changing in severity each year, retailers remain vigilant in their fight against ORC."

Store merchandise credit/gift card fraud poses new threat to retailers

For the first time, NRF asked the senior loss prevention executives surveyed about their experience with store credit merchandise/gift card fraud, and the results are troubling. When asked specifically if they've experienced boosters who return stolen merchandise without a receipt for the sole purpose of receiving store credit via a gift card, who then turn around and sell that merchandise credit for cash to secondary markets that include kiosks, pawn shops and check cashing stores, 77.8 percent said they have experienced this.

"This is an important crime to keep an eye on, as this could easily turn from being an organized tactic to one that amateurs could adopt," continued Mellor. "In conversations with retailers and law enforcement, we've learned that there are already defrauding processes being put in place, but retailers continue to lose millions of dollars to this enterprise scheme."

Survey finds increases in violence connected to "gateway crimes"

One of the most distressing trends in organized crime activity is the propensity for thieves to resort to violence to avoid being apprehended, putting store personnel, law enforcement and customers at risk. According to the survey, retailers say, on average, that two in 10 (18.3%) apprehensions lead to some level of violence, up from 15.2 percent last year and 13.0 percent in 2011.

Individuals connected to "gateway crimes," or crimes that are known to lead to bigger crimes, such as the use or sale of drugs and weapons, are often found to be associated with organized crime gangs. According to the survey, retailers say, on average, 44.8 percent of those apprehended for ORC are involved in gateway crimes.

Law enforcement understanding of issue grows

Thanks to organized methods of communication between retailers and law enforcement, awareness among law enforcement officials is at an all-time high. According to the survey, nearly half (48.1%) of retailers say they believe law enforcement understands the complexity and severity of ORC, up from 40.0 percent last year, and the highest percent reported in the five years of asking this question.

Nearly six in 10 (58.4%) believe top management at their organization understands the severity of ORC, up from 54.4 percent last year.

Top cities for organized retail crime activity

Organized retail crime gangs wreak havoc throughout the country, but many cities have remained top locations for ORC activity for the past several years including Dallas, Houston, Miami and Los Angeles. The top 10 locations that retailers say have the most criminal activity are (in alphabetical order):

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York
  • Northern New Jersey
  • San Francisco/Oakland

Federal legislation still needed to combat growing problem

For years, retailers and other vested parties have worked together to tackle organized retail crime. These partnerships include regional groups and associations, who host meetings to share intelligence and work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.  Even with the success of these partnerships, organized retail crime remains a federal matter because of the jurisdictional issues with criminals crossing state lines.

NRF strongly believes that organized retail crime must be addressed through federal legislation by amending the Federal Criminal Code to effectively address the organized and serious nature of this issue, and to be properly defined as a federal crime with appropriate sentencing guidelines.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Busy South Africa Building Integrates Custom Access Control System

    Nicol Corner, based in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, South Africa, is home to a six-star fitness club, prime office space, and an award-winning rooftop restaurant. This is the first building in South Africa to have its glass façade fully incorporate fritted glazing, saving 35% on energy consumption. Nicol Corner (Pty) LTD has developed a landmark with sophisticated design and unique architecture by collaborating with industry-leading partners and specifying world-class equipment throughout the project. This includes installing a high-spec, bespoke security and access control system. Read Now

  • Only 13 Percent of Research Institutions Are Prepared for AI

    A new survey commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while exposing significant gaps in preparedness at many research institutions. Read Now

  • Survey: 70 Percent of Organizations Have Established Dedicated SaaS Security Teams

    Seventy percent of organizations have prioritized investment in SaaS security, establishing dedicated SaaS security teams, despite economic uncertainty and workforce reductions. This was a key finding in the fourth Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2025 CISO Plans and Priorities released today by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • FEP GameChanger

    FEP GameChanger

    Paige Datacom Solutions Introduces Important and Innovative Cabling Products GameChanger Cable, a proven and patented solution that significantly exceeds the reach of traditional category cable will now have a FEP/FEP construction. 3

  • Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden Door Controls is pleased to announce that, in response to soaring customer demand, it has expanded its range of ValueWave™ no-touch switches to include a narrow (slimline) version with manual override. This override button is designed to provide additional assurance that the request to exit switch will open a door, even if the no-touch sensor fails to operate. This new slimline switch also features a heavy gauge stainless steel faceplate, a red/green illuminated light ring, and is IP65 rated, making it ideal for indoor or outdoor use as part of an automatic door or access control system. ValueWave™ no-touch switches are designed for easy installation and trouble-free service in high traffic applications. In addition to this narrow version, the CM-221 & CM-222 Series switches are available in a range of other models with single and double gang heavy-gauge stainless steel faceplates and include illuminated light rings. 3

  • Luma x20

    Luma x20

    Snap One has announced its popular Luma x20 family of surveillance products now offers even greater security and privacy for home and business owners across the globe by giving them full control over integrators’ system access to view live and recorded video. According to Snap One Product Manager Derek Webb, the new “customer handoff” feature provides enhanced user control after initial installation, allowing the owners to have total privacy while also making it easy to reinstate integrator access when maintenance or assistance is required. This new feature is now available to all Luma x20 users globally. “The Luma x20 family of surveillance solutions provides excellent image and audio capture, and with the new customer handoff feature, it now offers absolute privacy for camera feeds and recordings,” Webb said. “With notifications and integrator access controlled through the powerful OvrC remote system management platform, it’s easy for integrators to give their clients full control of their footage and then to get temporary access from the client for any troubleshooting needs.” 3