The Loss Prevention Research Council conducts more than 100 in-person interviews with active shoplifters each year. Much of what they say pertains to whether they see/get/fear a particular theft deterrent. Other comments and musings reveal unexpected thought patterns and rationales put forth by people who steal. What follows are direct Read More
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.
Intentional torts such as theft require a finding of intent. However, at times, a finding of intent can be difficult to prove. Generally, it requires a retailer to prove that the alleged shoplifter possessed the mental state necessary to commit theft at the time of the incident.1 Absent a reasonable determination Read More
A male shoplifting suspect has been coming into Store 153 three times a week for as long as anybody can remember. Store management has even attributed this guy as a major cause of the store’s shrink woes that have put them on the corporation’s “target store” list for the last Read More
Boosters are savvy in their methodology of offending. They often find creative ways in which to conceal property when shoplifting—in their clothing, via a special “booster bag,” etc. However, occasionally they capitalize on resources provided by the very location they intend to victimize.
While shopping in a nationally known chain drug Read More
Loss prevention has traditionally focused on shortage reduction through an emphasis on internal theft, external shoplifting, and operational controls. Resources to prevent these losses have been spent on developing programs and controls to stop loss from within the company.
Within the past decade, retailers have identified the growing threat of organized Read More
Cops and robbers. Good guys and bad guys. The dichotomy in the loss prevention world seems simple enough: bad people doing illegal things and good people trying to stop them. While the complexities of what makes a person good or bad are too extensive to debate here, one commonly assumed Read More
When a civil recovery request is made, many retail theft offenders assume that the request qualifies as an attempt to collect a debt and mistakenly believe that they are provided with the protections listed under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Congress enacted the FDCPA in 1977 “to eliminate Read More
Organized retail crime (ORC) involves the association of two or more persons engaged in illegally obtaining retail merchandise in substantial quantities through both theft and fraud as part of an unlawful commercial enterprise.
The primary objective of these professional crime rings is to steal from retail organizations for the purpose of Read More
According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2016 Organized Retail Crime Survey, all responding retailers said that they believe their companies to have been the victim of organized retail crime (ORC) activity within the past year. Eighty-three percent of those respondents believe that ORC activity has increased in the past Read More
While some of the tools of organized retail crime and methods of operation continue to evolve with the changes in technology and dynamics of the retail environment, the importance of cooperative partnerships between loss prevention and law enforcement teams remains a key factor in resolving organized retail crime (ORC) ring Read More
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