National Retail Federation Urges Passage of H.R. 5932

The National Retail Federation this week urged the U.S. House of Representatives to approve legislation that would create a new crime unit at the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute organized retail crime. NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations Steve Pfister sent a letter to members of the House, urging them to vote on H.R. 5932 (the "Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010").

The bill was introduced this summer by Representative Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chairperson of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. The bill is co-sponsored by Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and committee member Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

The bill does a number of things. The first thing it does is defines organized retail theft as "obtaining retail merchandise by illegal means for the purpose of reselling or otherwise placing such merchandise back into the stream of commerce, aiding or abetting the commission of such acts, or conspiring to commit such acts."

As we mentioned earlier, it would create a new division in the Department of Justice called the Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Unit.

It would require the U.S. Attorney General to create and submit a report to the Judiciary Committee with recommendations on how retailers, online businesses, and law enforcement agencies can prevent and fight against organized retail crime. The bill would also authorize $5 million a year for fiscal years 2011 – 2015 to fund the new program.

Citing figures from FBI retail loss prevention experts, NRF says that retailers lose between $15 and $30 billion a year to organized retail crime rings. They also say that 89 percent of retailers were victims of organized retail crime in the past year – according to an annual NRF survey released earlier this year.

The NRF says that organized retail crime rings tend to target every day, high-demand consumer products that are "easy to steal" such as baby formula, razor blades, batteries, analgesics, cosmetics and gift cards. Why? Probably because these items are easily resold to the general public and in bulk to other criminals. More expensive products such as DVDs, CDs, video games, designer clothing and electronics are also targeted but obviously a bit harder to steal. Most of the aforementioned items are resold in pawn shops, flea markets, swap meets and on the Internet, says the NRF.

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  1. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    …No.  It’s just creating a classification so they can have information compiled for that specific crime.  They want to know how much shoplifting is done by organized groups, as opposed to just random people.  With this knowledge, they will know how much time and manpower to allocate to fighting it.  It’s not making shoplifting "more illegal", it’s simply creating a definition of the specific type of shoplifting they are trying to focus their efforts on.  It’s an organizational distinction, not a legal one.

  2. 0
    Thad says:

    "so basically it just makes an already illegal activity more illegal by making it more specific."

    Yeah, how crazy and outlandish.  It’s not like we have multiple different categories of homicide, or theft, or assault.  That would just be ridiculous.

  3. 0
    GrimCW says:

    so basically it just makes an already illegal activity more illegal by making it more specific.


    and NYS needed a 16 chair committee to rate games/movies/music cause no one else could.

  4. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    It’s not "a law that makes it illegal to do something thats illegal".  It establishes a definition for this particular kind of crime, so that the new DOJ division has a clearly defined scope, and so that when they tell the AG to investigate, do a report, whatever, on Organized Retail Theft, everybody is on the same page as to what exactly that is.

  5. 0
    GrimCW says:

    so basically its targeted at things idiots steal and are beyond over priced anyways due to the same bull reasoning that game piracy is bad.

    1 person stole it so everyones a crook and prices must be gauged to make the differance by making the leget buyer pay 10 times what the items value actually is because he/she has to pay for the stolen merchandise while the criminals continue to walk free..

    tbh to me it sounds like more reason for them to spend money and hire more lawyers and politicians to do work that should be getting done without needing someone special for that job, as well as something new to warp into an unrecognizable load of bull somewhere down the road when someone decides to interpret it differantly.

    i can see this bringing things like ebay and craigs list to their knees though since it criminalizes things that are already criminal to do (whoa wait, a law that makes it illegal to do something thats illegal?! don’t we have enough of these, seriously..) like aiding in the acts of resale of this merchandise.

  6. 0
    Truec says:

    Part of me wants to make a Wal-Mafia joke here.  The other part wonders if the phrase "organized retail crime" is referring to the retailers themselves, rather than those stealing from them?

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