The increase in organized retail crime (ORC) activity has prompted many retailers to invest in tools and technologies to protect their merchandise. Partnerships between the private sector and public law enforcement professionals also help to improve security. But one useful tool is often overlooked in the fight against ORC: the investigative interview.
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Using thorough investigative interviewing strategies and techniques, an ORC investigator may be able to obtain crucial and reliable information from an apprehended shoplifter. During the interview, the subject may even reveal merchandise resale locations, means of transportation for the theft ring, or other target locations.
In an article in the latest issue of LPM Online, David Thompson, CFI, goes in-depth on the topic of ORC interviews. What do investigators want to know, and what are the major challenges to obtaining that information? From the article:
In the event of an ORC interview, time is often an uncontrollable variable that expires rather quickly. Interviews conducted while the shoplifter is in law enforcement custody, detained in a loss prevention office, or any other unique field interview will present the challenge of having minimal time to gain maximum information. This increases the importance of the interviewer’s strategy to know what their priority of information should be.
There is a wide variety of information that may fall into different levels of priority depending on the context of the investigation and the availability of evidence. Primarily, understanding the flow of the stolen product is essential to most investigators. Identifying where the stolen items are delivered to, sold from, or distributed at may produce a domino effect resulting in additional information. If a subject discusses that the product is sold through online channels, this provides the investigator with potential sales history and tracking ability. Product that is delivered to street vendors, pawnshops, or storage units may be easier to recover and substantiate the total loss.
Read more about ORC investigative interviewing tips in “Inside the ORC Interview.” If you’ve missed any of our previous LPM Online editions, go to the Archives page at the end of the edition to see what you’ve missed. Be sure to be an LPM digital subscriber so you are the first to know when new issues are available. If you haven’t already, sign up on the SUBSCRIBE NOW link. (Note: if you’re already subscribed, the previous link will take you to the current issue of the print magazine.)
This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated January 23, 2018.