LP Magazine hosted the ORCAs in Action Summer Summit 2022 last week with four presentations from industry leaders and experts.
Derek Booth, a US Secret Service (USSS) Special Agent opened the webinar by sharing information on the increasing international cybercrime trends, along with what the USSS does to combat these trends. Some of the common cyber frauds committed throughout the country include schemes involving phishing emails, credit card skimming, ransomware attacks, romance scams, and more.
To limit these attacks in the future, the USSS works closely with the Cyber Fraud Task Force (CFTF), which consists of law enforcement, private sector partners, U.S. and district attorneys, foreign working groups, and the Global Investigative Operations Center. Through the collaboration of the USSS and the CFTF, cyber fraud is consistently being tackled at the local, state, and federal levels.
Rob Karr, the president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) continued the discussion by explaining how Illinois is collaboratively working to eliminate organized retail crime. IRMA and the Illinois Office of the Attorney General (OAG) came together to create a legislative package that focuses on ORC, deterring theft, encouraging public and private cooperation, and reducing the ability to avoid prosecution. The legislation was signed into law last month and is currently being implemented throughout the state. The creation of this legislation was driven by multiple factors including the pandemic, a change in Illinois leadership, criminal justice reform, redistricting, and the 2022 elections.
For retailers in other states to be successful with similar legislation, Karr advised they start by reaching out to potential collaborators early, and to not be afraid to engage with those who might not initially support your ideas. By being patient with those who disagree with you, you are able to “work both sides of the aisle.” Along with patience, gathering and applying relevant statistics are also a necessity to fully understanding the situation. “You have to play all the cards you can to educate members about what’s going on,” Karr told participants.
Cory Lowe, PhD and senior research scientist of the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), succeeded Karr to discuss how research sciences can be applied to deter organized retail crime. The LPRC works with six different types of research labs that host varying projects and experiments with the common goal of discovering offender insights. A lot of the research in the modern crime prevention world focuses on development, while Lowe focuses on situational environments and community crime prevention. He believes that by preventing theft and other retail crimes early in a person’s life, there is greater opportunity to deter the potential for an individual to commit more serious crimes later on. “If we are preventing retail crimes, we are removing opportunities for kids to learn about how to commit retail crimes. Most research shows that when we’re talking about developmentally limiting those opportunities—if we can prevent those crimes early in the course of someone’s life—then people avoid getting into life crimes,” Lowe said.
Another goal of the LPRC that Lowe shared was the concept of constantly increasing the risk and effort needed to commit a crime. It is believed that by increasing the effort an offender has to put into the act of committing a crime, the less likely they are to follow through with their malicious intensions.
Stephen Nethery, chief revenue officer for technology company insightLPR, closed the webinar by sharing the importance of license plate recognition (LPR) technology and its potential to positively impact efforts to battle organized retail crime. He discussed how LPR enhances the ability to identify vehicles involved in criminal acts, improving the accuracy and efficiency of these efforts and making law enforcement more effective. This was reinforced by Commander Chris Picou from Madison, Mississippi, who shared his personal experience with the success of LPR technology when identifying stolen vehicles and catching retail crime offenders.
Watch a recording of the event here.