Organized retail crime and the dramatic growth of ORC incidents have drawn significant attention both within the loss prevention industry and throughout the retail community in general as businesses search for ways to manage the threats and address the issues.
Whether dealing directly with professional shoplifters or otherwise battling the related fencing operations, cargo theft incidents, Internet crimes, or other associated offenses, tremendous effort and resources are being waged against those associated with these sophisticated criminal networks.
Retailers have established dedicated task forces to specifically deal with ORC issues. Industry associations have invested significant resources to combat organized retail crime efforts through education, awareness, and political channels. Organized retail crime associations (ORCAs) have been founded across the country.
There are efforts to influence leaders on Capitol Hill to continue to search for legislative solutions, enact stronger statutes, increase penalties, and encourage enforcement. There are also sponsored events in select markets where professionals can learn and network with law enforcement agencies and other retailers to enhance engagement and build stronger partnerships.
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Yet despite these focused efforts, the public perception of organized retail crime is typically not viewed in the light that we might expect. Often perceived as a minor distraction in the larger scheme of things, theft and theft-related crimes—to include organized retail crime incidents—are not seen as a primary concern in the eyes of those outside of retail.
In the eyes of many, this is nothing more than a petty sidebar that pulls us away from other “real” or “more important” issues.
There’s often little or no separation between “minor” offenses and criminal networks. In fact, such perceptions can often spark sympathy for the perpetrators while ignoring larger concerns and the true impact of these crimes.
So how do we change this perception? What can we do to increase public awareness and influence a different way of thinking? Perhaps the starting point is to identify where the breakdown is taking place.
What do you think?
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Look for the results of the survey to appear in next Monday’s LPM Insider.