Study: Retail Crime, Shoplifting Continue to Rise

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These handbags were part of $100,000 worth of stolen merchandise up for sale on eBay and recovered recently by Portland, Oregon, police.

Arlington, VA–Retailers are reporting increases in shoplifting by organized rings and individuals and much of the stolen merchandise shows up for resell online.

The 2011 Crime Trends and Leading Practices Survey, released today by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), found that retailers reported the most significant increases in retail crime were shoplifting and pharmacy theft.

More than half of respondents reported an increase in the frequency with which organized rings committed shoplifting and 41% saw an increase in shoplifting by individuals acting alone. Not to mention that 41% reported an increase in shoplifters using force against an employee during an apprehension.

“With input from the largest retailers in America, the results provide keen insight into the state of crime in the retail industry, said Lisa LaBruno, RILA’s vice president of Loss Prevention and Legal Affairs.  “We were disappointed, though not surprised, to see the continued rise in shoplifting by organized groups and individuals acting alone.”

Jewelry, Accessories A Top Target for Theft

Besides tech gadgets and pharmacy products, jewelry and accessories were among the top merchandise most targeted by organized crime rings, the survey revealed.

Moreover, online marketplaces continue to be a favored venue for resale of stolen product. Most of the retailers in the survey, some 61%, reported an increase in finding stolen merchandise for resell online. None reported a decrease in online sales of stolen merchandise. Retailers also said that their stolen merchandise was resold at flea markets and store-front bodegas more frequently, too.

LaBruno said retailers continue to fight an uphill battle against resale of stolen goods online, in flea markets and elsewhere.

“As long as there are channels through which thieves can resell stolen goods, it will be difficult to stem the tide of organized retail crime. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to explore state and federal legislative solutions and to enhance partnerships with external stakeholders to find a solution to the growing problem of ORC.”

In addition to ORC, some of the other areas highlighted in the report include crimes committed by individual perpetrators, employee theft and fraud, pharmacy theft, flash mobs, retailers’ legislative efforts, effective deterrence strategies and the role of social networking in investigations.

“Data detailing how crime is trending and what deterrent strategies have worked for retailers will help retailers focus their resources and develop effective strategies for mitigating risk,” LaBruno said.

About RILA

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.







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