Study Finds Rising Rate Of Organized Retail Crime In The U.S.

The 13th annual Organized Retail Crime (ORC) study that was released by the National Retail Federation found that there was a continued growth in organized retail crime in the past year and 67 percent of retailers who were surveyed said they had seen an increase in the same period in the U.S.

In the past year, ORC was experienced by 96 percent of responding companies according to a survey conducted by the retail loss prevention employees. Noting a rise of $700,259 last year, $726,351 per $1 billion in sales was the average loss.

“Organized retail crime continues to be one of the biggest challenges to retailers of all sizes,” NRF Vice President for Loss Prevention Bob Moraca said. “These crimes happen across the country every day, with criminals getting smarter, more brazen, more aggressive and sometimes even attacking store employees and shoppers. Fighting ORC is a full-time job, and retailers must learn how to stay a step ahead of these thieves.”

Physical fencing locations such as temporary “pop-up” stores, flea markets kiosks and pawn shops were the places where six in 10 of the retailer had been able to recover merchandise. Online sources of finding stolen goods was only 56 percent of the respondents surveyed because of the fact that the internet offers the anonymity that the criminals seek. Stolen goods were find to have been illegally exported outside of the U.S. by 28 percent pf the respondents surveyed.

Items that can be easily stolen and sold fast are the ones that the ORC criminals look for. Designer handbags, razors, clothes and denim pants are the among the most popular items this year that were stolen.

The survey also revealed that 69 percent of retailers surveyed were in support of passing a federal ORC law even though here are 34 states that already have ORC laws in place – taking the hep of state retail associations.

About 0 percent of retailers had suffered from cargo theft where the items are stolen while they are on their way from the distribution centers to stores or other places in  the supply chain, the report found.

A serious challenge to the retail industry is also posed by return fraud. It is expected by retailers that this year, about 11 percent of purchases would be returned and that would have about 11 percent that would most probably be fraudulent. However, the fraud rate is a little lower at 9%, for items that are bought online but are returned at the physical stores. 17 percent of all of te items that are returned without any receipt are believed to be fraudulent.

Returning of fraudulent merchandise is suffered by 68 percent of retailers, employee return fraud is a cause of suffering for 65 percent, and using fraudulent or stolen tender to return merchandise plagued 57 percent of retailers, the report found.

(Adapted from


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