Shoplifting & Organized Retail Crime

To shoplift is to knowingly obtain goods or merchandise from an establishment in which they are displayed for sale, without paying the purchase price. This act can include carrying, hiding, concealing, or otherwise manipulating merchandise with the intent to steal it.

Organized retail crime (ORC) deals with professional shoplifters, crime networks, cargo theft, Internet crimes, and other organized criminal activities that occur in the retail setting. These highly organized, often mobile, and sometimes complex structures and hierarchies provide a tremendous threat to the retail industry.

ORC involves the association of two or more persons engaged in illegally obtaining retail merchandise through both theft and fraud as part of an unlawful commercial enterprise. The primary objective of these professional crime rings is to target retailers across a geographical area or cyber network, stealing from these organizations for the purpose of turning products into financial gain, rather than for personal use.

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Shoplifting and organized retail crime issues are the most common contributors to external shrink, having developed into a multibillion-dollar problem that ultimately affects each and every one of us. Not only do these losses affect a company’s bottom line in a variety of different ways, but they also impact us as consumers in the form of higher prices, fewer choices, greater inconveniences, and a reduction in services as businesses attempt to find ways to fight external theft incidents and recover damages.

Shoplifters are not bound by age, gender, race, social background, or any other traits that make us unique and distinctive as human beings. This type of theft isn’t always based on need, and many different incentives may influence the motivation to steal. While every situation has its own merits, the motivations for shoplifting can be as different as the individual.

ORC groups are commonly involved in sophisticated, well-planned shoplifting incidents, check and credit card scams, manufacturing fraudulent receipts or price tickets, gift card scams, cargo theft incidents (where goods are stolen or hijacked during transit), and a host of other organized theft events. These criminal activities have become a nationwide problem occurring at an increasing scale, costing retail companies and consumers billions of dollars every year.

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Retail Theft and Loss Prevention Analytics

According to the 2016 National Retail Security Survey, US businesses lost around $45.2 billion in 2015 to retail theft, more than 1.38 percent of overall sales, making retail theft one of the leading issues facing retailers today.
Shoplifting and ORC Fraud Rings
According to the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention (2006), more   Read More


LPM Insider’s Top 5 Shoplifting and Organized Retail Crime Articles of 2017

Shoplifting in Fitting Rooms
Will shoplifting in fitting rooms continue to be a problem given new technologies and laws?

By Bill Turner, LPC

Any loss prevention professional who has worked is a store that sells apparel is probably familiar with customers shoplifting in fitting rooms. But how much do you know about changing   Read More


The ALTO Approach to Managing Retail Theft Earns “Historic” Win in Albertsons’ Shoplifting Case

In what one former prosecutor termed “historic,” a habitual shoplifter who was set to be arraigned on a misdemeanor petty theft charge, had his bail increased from $5,000 to $50,000 based on information provided to the LA city attorney’s office by ALTO US, a risk management technology company that provides   Read More



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