The National Retail Federation has released its annual Organized Retail Crime report for the previous year. The National Retail Federation’s Organized Retail Crime survey, now in its seventh year, is conducted every spring to gauge the impact and severity of organized retail crime. The survey focuses on large scale theft of goods such as jeans, videogames, and house wares – anything that is popular and easy to sell.
This year’s survey found that organized retail crime affected almost every single retailer in some way, with 95 percent of surveyed retailers reporting that they have been a victim of organized retail crime in the past 12 months, up six percent from last year. Although retailers continue to implement defenses against this theft, the survey found that criminals were finding new ways to work around the system. Retailers are also reporting that the criminals they apprehend are increasingly resorting to violence, putting the safety of both associates and customers at risk. Most states don’t allow loss prevention managers (the "shoplifting police") to have any physical contact with a suspect; instead they are required to observe, report and contact the police.
The survey also revealed that big cities still have the most problems with criminal gangs and organized retail crime. Cities highlighted in the report included Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Dallas. Making the list for the first time, Las Vegas and Phoenix are now among the top 10 metropolitan areas retailers say are affected.
Retailers have spent years lobbying Congress about the need for specific organized retail crime legislation. Specific lobbying interests include stiffer penalties for criminals involved with organized retail crimes, expanding law enforcement’s ability to charge and prosecute offenders and decreasing the felony dollar amount threshold at which criminals are charged.