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  • Writer's pictureHeather Petrone

Fighting Back: How Security Devices Help Combat Organized Retail Crime

Organized retail crime (ORC) has become a major concern for retailers around the country. ORC groups, often consisting of skilled thieves, have become increasingly sophisticated in their methods, causing significant financial losses for businesses and impacting consumers through higher prices and compromised safety. One effective solution in the fight against retail crime is the installation of security devices to lock up merchandise. Let’s take a look at this growing problem of ORC and how security devices play a crucial role in deterring and preventing these audacious activities.

Organized retail crime is not a new phenomenon, but it has evolved and even increased over the years. ORC groups are bold and brazen - targeting high-value items, such as expensive tools, electronics, designer clothing, cosmetics, high-end perfumes, with the intent to steal and resell them on the black market. Their operations most often involve mob-style smash and grab tactics, and some have been known to hurt store employees or customers trying to stop them.

The consequences of ORC are far-reaching. For retailers, the financial impact is significant. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that ORC costs U.S. retailers billions of dollars annually. The shrink rate increased .2% last year resulting in 112.1 billion dollars in losses. These losses ultimately result in higher prices for consumers and can even force some retailers to close their doors. Target, for example, just announced it’s closing 9 stores in urban areas due to this type of crime. The retailer stated, “We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance.” The closures will take effect Oct. 21 in New York, Seattle; San Francisco/Oakland and Portland according to the announcement.

Aside from retail theft and the financial implications, some retailers are really seeing how ORC poses a safety risk to both retail employees and shoppers. Home Depot reported two employee deaths within months of each other. "We're starting to see a lot more violent acts taking place," said David Johnston of the National Retail Federation. "It greatly impacts the retailer's ability to keep their environment safe." Organized criminals are not afraid to use intimidation or violence when confronted, putting innocent people at risk. Customers have been beaten, even blinded by mace. When closing stores is not an option, retailers are choosing to increase security measure with both retail security officers and security devices to protect their merchandise, customers, and employees.

Let’s take a look at security devices. In recent years, there has been a remarkable surge in technological advancements within the realm of retail security devices, leading to substantial improvements in safeguarding merchandise and enhancing overall store security. Innovations such as smart surveillance cameras equipped with artificial intelligence algorithms can now detect suspicious behavior patterns and alert store personnel in real-time. RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) systems have evolved to offer precise inventory management, reducing losses due to theft and inventory errors. Biometric access control systems have become more accessible and reliable, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to restricted areas. Furthermore, the integration of data analytics has enabled retailers to identify trends and vulnerabilities, allowing for proactive security measures. These developments collectively bolster retail security, not only reducing losses but also fostering a safer and more efficient shopping environment for both customers and staff.

So, how can these various devices specifically help mitigate risk?

Deterrence: The mere presence of visible security devices acts as a deterrent to potential thieves. Knowing that security cameras have facial recognition, or that high-value items are locked up or equipped with anti-theft devices makes it less attractive for criminals to target a store.

Reduced Opportunities: Security devices limit thieves' opportunities to steal merchandise easily. Locked cases and spider wraps require time and effort to defeat, making it less likely that a thief can grab and run.

Increased Recovery Rates: When thieves do attempt to steal merchandise, security devices increase the chances of apprehension. Many devices trigger alarms when tampered with, enabling quick responses from store security or law enforcement.

Data and Analytics: Some security devices are equipped with data tracking capabilities, allowing retailers to analyze theft patterns and make informed decisions to enhance store security further.

Organized retail crime is a serious and growing problem that affects retailers, consumers, and communities. Installing security devices to lock up merchandise is a proactive step that retailers can take to combat ORC effectively. By deterring theft, reducing opportunities for criminals, and increasing the chances of apprehension, these devices not only protect a retailer's bottom line but also contribute to a safer shopping environment for everyone. It's clear that investing in security devices is not just a good solution; it's a necessary one in the ongoing battle against organized retail crime.

You can help fight retail crime, by joining the National Retail Federation’s Fight Retail Crime Day on October 26th! Until better legislation is passed you can use Apollo or BT Retail Solutions for all your loss prevention needs. We’re trusted with by major retailers and brands. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to Beverly Ruyle or John Morris by contacting

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