Organized Retail Crime Groups Focus on Everyday Consumer Goods

Retail Crime

Everyday consumer goods are the primary target of organized retail crime (ORC) rings.

Eighty-one percent of ORC groups focus on everyday consumer goods while only 11% target luxury goods, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said in a Friday (April 14) report.

ORC groups have found that everyday consumer goods provide them with the right combination of ease of theft, monetary value and ease of resale, according to a Friday press release.

“Organized retail crime has been a major concern for the retail industry for decades, endangering store employees and customers, disrupting store operations and inflicting billions in financial loss for retailers and the communities they serve,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in the release. “These concerns have grown in recent years, as criminal groups have become more brazen and violent in their tactics and are using new channels to resell stolen goods.”

About 45% of ORC groups use online marketplaces to resell stolen goods, and there is a shift toward using peer-to-peer websites rather than third-party online sellers, according to the release.

Among the ORC fencing operations that have been apprehended by law enforcement, the median amount of stolen merchandise they handled totaled $250,000, the release said.

ORC is a growing threat to retailers and “now forms a part of the criminal and illicit financing landscape,” Juan Zarate, global co-managing partner and chief strategy officer at K2 Integrity, a global risk advisory firm that produced the report about ORC in partnership with NRF, said in the release.

“The ORC industry will grow more dangerous, complex and profitable, and its illicit proceeds will fuel more organized criminal networks and operations in the United States, globally and virtually, if more concerted action is not taken to disrupt these trends,” Zarate said.

The NRF continues to advocate for the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act in the U.S. Congress, Shay said in the release.

As PYMNTS reported in December 2021, retail theft led 21 CEOs from some of the nation’s biggest retailers to ask Congress for help and quick passage of legislation to address the problem.

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