The National Retail Federation reports that organized retail crime (ORC) is growing nationwide in both scope and complexity.
“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,” said NRF President Matthew Shay.
“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,” he added.
NRF has issued a report, Organized Retail Crime: An Assessment of a Persistent and Growing Threat, which was prepared in partnership with K2 Integrity, a global risk advisory firm.
“The ORC industry will grow more dangerous, complex and profitable, and its illicit proceeds will fuel more organized criminal networks and operations in the U.S., globally and virtually, if more concerted action is not taken to disrupt these trends,” said Juan Zarate, global co-managing partner and chief strategy officer at K2 Integrity.
The report finds that ORC groups largely target everyday consumer goods — which offer a favorable balance between ease of theft, monetary value, and ease of resale. Only 11% of ORC groups targeted luxury goods.
The median ORC fencing operation handled about $250,000 in stolen merchandise. ORC fencing operations rely on online marketplaces as one resale channel, with about 45% of them using online marketplaces for their resale operations.
ORC fences that conduct online resale operations appear to be shifting away from third-party online sellers and toward peer-to-peer websites that offer direct engagement among buyers and sellers.
NRF also found ORC groups rely on advance planning to ensure success of their theft operations.