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Wrapping Up: The Crossfire Hurricane of Retail Crime

What does it take to make a problem real? How many tens of billions of dollars must we lose before a dilemma becomes a crisis? When are “thoughts and prayers” no longer enough to make up for the price paid when things go terribly wrong?

Retailers in general—and more specifically those charged with protecting the people and products in the retail setting— are faced with these questions on an ongoing basis. And for those who live every day in the world of retail, retail crime is without question a real and powerful concern.

Retail, the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supports more than one in four US jobs—52 million working Americans. A cornerstone of our national economy, retail contributes almost $4 trillion to the gross domestic product. Unfortunately, it’s also a business that can be undervalued and often misunderstood. For those facing the complex challenges of retail crime and its impact on our stores and communities, this misunderstanding is something that simply can no longer be tolerated.

Show Me the Money

“Why do I rob banks? Because that’s where the money is.”

- Digital Partner -

This infamous quote is often credited to notorious bank robber Willie Sutton, who made off with millions over the course of his criminal career. By stating the obvious, his matter-of-fact answer left most of us wondering why the question was even asked.

Why is this important? Because for today’s criminal, the money is found in retail stores. With stocked shelves and infinite opportunities, retail stores are seen as an endless source of revenue, funding many of the criminal activities our communities are dealing with every day. Multi‑million‑dollar ORC cases have become commonplace. Coupled with the endless reach of the internet, every community has the potential for significant criminal activity.

Why don’t we know the exact dollar figures that are involved? There are a lot of reasons that can take us down rabbit holes. But when it comes right to it, it’s really not that complicated—thieves don’t leave receipts behind when they steal. Why are reported thefts down? Because getting an accurate measure of retail theft depends on both retailers and law enforcement reporting the activity; and due to many factors, this doesn’t always happen. That itself is a problem but it doesn’t mean that the bigger issue has gone away.

Safety Should Always Come First

Of course, retailers are concerned with how retail crime is impacting profits. But what matters more is keeping the stores safe for our employees and customers. Blatant thefts and brutal attacks have increased at alarming rates, and people are getting hurt.

LP Solutions

We coach and train our employees to avoid situations that can lead to violence and how to de-escalate incidents that occur in the stores. But that won’t stop the flash mobs that target retail outlets on a daily basis. It won’t deter the thief who jumps a counter and viciously beats a salesperson to steal game systems.

Ask the Real Experts

This is why retailers are sounding the alarm and investing time and resources to address the problem. But we can’t do it alone. We need responsible reporting that gives the true picture of what’s happening nationwide.

Retail crime is a complex, multi-faceted problem that has no easy fixes. Unfortunately, it’s also a problem that’s largely misunderstood. Awareness and understanding remain the key ingredients to helping find effective and sensible solutions. For those who really want to learn and support their communities, be part of the solution. Ask the right questions. Have the fortitude to ask the true experts dealing with the issues every day—and then show enough common sense to listen.

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