Retailers Increasingly Worried about ORC Activity

ORC activity has been a serious concern for retailers for many years—but the problem isn't going away.

Organized retail crime (ORC) has been a serious concern for retailers for many years—but the problem isn’t going away. Recent data from the National Retail Federation puts the loss from ORC in 2017 at over $726,351 per $1 billion in sales, a significant increase over 2016. But what’s causing the growth?

Garett Seivold, contributing writer, takes a closer look at this question in a feature article for the January–February issue of LP Magazine. The article delves into the possible reasons behind the increase in ORC activity and aggression:

As for what’s driving the increase, ORC investigators on the front line point the finger at problems well beyond a store’s front door. “It’s drugs,” said Mike Powell, an ORC investigator for Kroger. “There is no doubt the oxy epidemic is driving ORC business.” Nathan Bandaries, an organized retail crime manager at Albertsons, agrees. “Ninety percent of the boosters we catch are on drugs. They wake up desperate because they only have a matter of hours to ‘get well’—to go steal and navigate to their dealers. It’s a cycle that repeats itself, day after day,” said Bandaries.

That desperation may partly be behind the increase in aggression that retailers described in the NRF survey. Twenty‐seven percent said ORC thieves exhibited “much more” aggression and violence over the last twelve months; 21 percent said “somewhat more.” Moraca explained, “More and more, these criminals are coming in and menacing employees, pushing and shoving customers, shouting at everyone to get down on the floor, and those kinds of things. We haven’t seen this type of violence in a long time.”

Read what investigators on the front line have to say about current trends affecting retail in “ORC is Worrisome, Worsening…And at Risk of Being Ignored?” You can also visit the Table of Contents for the January–February 2018 issue or register for a free subscription to the magazine. [Note: if you’re already a subscriber, the previous link will take you to the current issue instead.]

This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated February 8, 2018. 

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