Putting the Brakes on Organized Retail Crime
Retail theft is frustrating for businesses and law enforcement agencies alike. There are only so many eyes viewing internal store cameras; and, unfortunately, most shoplifters work quickly, walk out the door and proceed to stow stolen goods in their cars before a loss is discovered. The most disturbing trend in recent years is the growth of Organized Retail Crime (ORC) which dispatches professional shoplifters to target malls. Working in a highly coordinated, sophisticated fashion, these ‘boosters’ can descend on a store in a team or work solo. Stolen goods are then sold through various fencing operations which traditionally have included pawn shops, flea markets and small local stores. The ease of selling stolen goods online, however, has changed the game completely.
In the National Retail Federation’s 2018 Organized Retail Crime Survey, findings show as many as 9 in 10 retailers were impacted by ORC last year—an extraordinary number by any comparison. Nearly 3 in 4 retailers say they’ve experienced an increase in ORC activity from the year before.
The survey’s respondents also reported that ORC gangs are becoming more aggressive and bold in carrying out their criminal activity.
“Organized Retail Crime cost retailers $777,877 per $1 billion in sales in 2018–an all-time survey high.” —National Retail Federation’s Organized Retail Crime Survey
Retailers have long employed loss prevention experts, plain-clothes personnel and installed video surveillance systems to combat theft inside their stores. But ORC criminals are experts and highly motivated. In many ways the odds are in their favor. When thieves are caught in the act, they often have a small amount of stolen goods on their person at any given time. The chargeable offense may amount to little more than a misdemeanor even though the booster’s team has one or more vehicles sitting in the parking lot filled with merchandise. While a team member is getting booked, the others can cut their day’s mission short and flee the premises.
As a result, retailers and law enforcement are looking for fresh approaches to fighting ORC. Deploying MPS mobile surveillance camera trailers in retail shopping parking lots serve as an effective deterrent when placed in plain sight outside large stores or malls. Camera trailers, unlike traditional surveillance systems, are highly visible and signal a watchful presence is on the premises. They operate around-the-clock and provide valuable video evidence that can be used to track down criminals and increase property recovery rates.
For more information on how mobile surveillance can help protect your bottom line, see Mobile Pro Systems’ surveillance solutions for retail and mall security or call us at 651-434-2333 today.