The Survey Says: ORC Violence Continues to Rise
The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2017 Organized Retail Crime Survey was just released, and not many retail Loss Prevention professionals are surprised to learn losses from ORC have increased over the last year. But the bad news gets worse. According to the survey, 26% of survey respondents report that ORC offenders are exhibiting more violence and aggression than the prior year. This information seems to agree with all of the industry statistics measuring this phenomenon.
In the D&D Daily’s Retail Violent Death Report (August 2017), it was reported that retail deaths attributed to violence increased by 13% in the second quarter of 2017, and by 15% in the first half of the year. The report also indicated the victims were “predominately shot and killed.” In 2016, five loss prevention/security officers and four police officers were killed during incidents involving retail crimes.
How Much Are You Paying Your Local ORC Ring?
To understand why professional shoplifters are willing to become more violent, one must first understand how profitable a sinister career as a professional shoplifter can be. For example, Scott Chapman, Albertsons-Safeway’s Portland division director of asset protection was interviewed for a recent news article about a professional shoplifter. The article was published out of Gresham, Oregon by KPTV. “He does it every day, 365 days a year, $300 a day – his own admissions,” Chapman said, adding the totals easy exceed about $100,000 in a year.”
Still, doubt how much money a professional shoplifter can rake in? Consider this quote from a former pro-shoplifter who was interviewed by FOX News – Nashville: “I was very successful at it. I did it for 25-plus years. In a year’s time, probably several hundred thousand [dollars].”
With shoplifting being so lucrative, it is easy to understand why some professional shoplifters have elected to do whatever they deem necessary to elude capture, including extreme violence.
Adding it All Up
In addition to the seriousness of the losses incurred by violent offenders, merchandise losses at the hands of shoplifting are staggering. In fact, the 2017 National Retail Security Survey (NRSS) indicates losses attributed to shoplifting are estimated to be roughly $18 billion annually. Additionally, PushoutTheft.com reports that pushout thefts produce an average loss of $562 per incident.
When looking at the totality of stolen and damaged merchandise, injured employees and customers, and even deaths of employees and shoplifters alike, it is clear that due attention must be given to examining policies pertaining to how retailers address shoplifters and the subsequent apprehensions that ensue.
Scrambling to Strategize
Armed with all of the recent information regarding increased shoplifter violence, Loss Prevention professionals are trying to create the best strategies to combat this growing problem. Current policies do not seem to be enough, as retailers continue to deal with serious and costly injuries and deaths attributed to apprehending shoplifters.
As loss prevention executives contemplate possible remedies, innovative solutions providers continue to create technological offerings that protect employees and merchandise. In a recently released whitepaper by The Calibration Group entitled, Violence in Loss Prevention: Dissecting Shoplifter Apprehensions, Robert Harling, Senior Vice President of Business Development for Gatekeeper Systems stated, “Apprehending shoplifters continues to be a risky business. As stated in one of Gatekeepers’ recent blogs, the frequency of violent confrontations during the act of apprehending shoplifters appears to be increasing with no end in sight. Using shopping cart management and control technology to recover stolen merchandise at the door, rather than confronting shoplifters, is arguably the safest way to protect a retailers’ employees and their merchandise.”
The challenge is clear: loss prevention executives must find new ways to prevent their merchandise from being stolen, while at the same time keep their respective company employees out of harm’s way. Only technological solutions can accomplish both.
Click here to learn about the most effective solution for apprehending merchandise instead of shoplifters.