Organized retail crime may have decreased very slightly last year, according to a new National Retail Federation study, but it remains a massive problem and the nation’s largest cities are especially prone to organized activities.
NRF’s ninth annual Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Survey found that 93.5% of retailers said they had been a victimized by organized retail crime during the past year, down slightly from 96% the prior year. For the past three years, more than 90% of the retailers surveyed said they were victims of ORC. Eight in 10 of those surveyed believe that ORC activity in general in the United States has increased over the past three years.
"We are extremely concerned by the organized patterns that are taking place in the retail industry right now as these crime gangs continue to find ways to maneuver the system," said NRF vp of loss prevention Rich Mellor. "Though retailers continue to make great strides in their fight against organized retail crime, savvy, unconscionable criminals are selling stolen merchandise for a profit that doesn’t belong to them."
According to the study, which included participation from 77 loss prevention executives representing all retail channels, the 10 cities with the worst organized retail crime are, in alphabetical order:
The list basically mirrors the nation’s 10 largest urban areas which is not surprising considering high concentrations of people and convenient store locations equal increased opportunity for thieves and more outlets for stolen goods.
In other findings, the survey noted troubling developments on the store merchandise credit and gift card front. Nearly 80% of those surveyed said they had experienced a situation where thieves returned stolen merchandise without a receipt for the sole purpose of receiving store credit via a gift card to sell for cash to secondary markets that include kiosks, pawn shops and check cashing stores.
"This is an important crime to keep an eye on, as this could easily turn from being an organized tactic to one that amateurs could adopt," Mellor said. "In conve