Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers have been closing down their physical locations. For some stores, this was temporary; for others, it was permanent. Reduced business is the main reason for the majority of stores, but other stores have had to downsize due to the increase in shrinkage caused by organized retail crime.
What is ORC?
Organized retail crime can also be referred to as organized retail theft. ORC is different than regular shoplifting; whereas a small-time shoplifter will only steal a few times per month, ORC rings can have hundreds of people that will target multiple stores each day. Additionally, their motivation behind theft is not for personal usage, they steal in order to resell the items online for a profit. Even though ORC has always been an issue, loss prevention teams are saying that it’s becoming more widespread and violent.
According to the National Retail Federation, 75% of retailers reported that ORC activity has increased in the past year as compared to 68% the previous year. There’s a lot of reasons why organized retail crime is becoming more prevalent. First of all, it’s easier for people to sell stolen goods online because they can hide behind anonymity or create fraudulent businesses that can’t be traced back to them. Secondly, the pandemic has made people more wary about shopping in-store and more willing to shop online, even through sketchy sites. Not only that, the pandemic has caused police departments to shift their focus away from property theft, resulting in more opportunities for ORC.
Organized retail crime is not just a threat for retailers and big corporations, either. These thieves are becoming more violent and aggressive in their tactics which can hurt employees if they get caught up in an altercation. In addition, the resellers may tamper with the stolen goods (like baby formula) and sell dangerous items to unsuspecting customers.
Preventing Organized Retail Crime
The most effective method against organized retail crime would be to use a complete video surveillance system to catch them in-store. Once the criminals leave the store, it becomes more difficult to track them down. With security cameras, loss prevention teams can easily monitor for theft in all areas in real-time from a safe, centralized location. They can also catch more incidences of theft, especially if they’re using video analytics which can detect suspicious activity that they might’ve missed. Having cameras also allow security teams to playback footage and recognize patterns of theft over time so that they can be prepared the next time an ORC ring strikes.
If you’re thinking about installing a security system in your store to combat organized retail crime, make sure that you’re installing security cameras in these key locations:
- Near cash registers: Installing cameras near cash registers will allow you to watch for anyone trying to commit credit card or return fraud.
- Inside inventory rooms: Sometimes, an employee may be part of an ORC ring. Having cameras inside of inventory rooms will prevent employees from stealing goods to resell.
- In front of entrances/exits: Make sure that all entrances and exits are monitored so that you can be alerted when a known ORC member enters or so that you have pictures of a thief that got away.
- In parking lots/garages: You won’t be able to catch every thief who enters all the time. Having security cameras in the parking lot will allow you to capture more images of the thief as well as the license plate of the car they got away in.
If you have any questions about solutions against organized retail crime, be sure to contact our sales team. Our consultants are experienced and can help you design the right system for any need and location.