“The Impact of Organized Retail Crime and Product Theft in the United States” quantifies the onslaught of news stories about organized retail crime, which refers to professional theft rings that steal merchandise in large quantities.
These criminals are increasingly turning to online marketplaces to quickly and discretely fence mass quantities of stolen merchandise. And unfortunately, these criminal rings are growing more brazen and violent, putting the safety of customers and store employees in jeopardy.
In addition to defrauding retailers, threatening employees, and reducing choice and increasing costs to consumers, many of these organized retail crime syndicates use their ill-gotten gains to fund other criminal activities like human and drug trafficking and even terrorist organizations.
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Organized retail crime is leading to more brazen and more violent attacks in retail stores
“Organized retail crime is leading to more brazen and more violent attacks in retail stores throughout the country. Many of the criminal rings orchestrating these thefts are also involved in other serious criminal activity such as human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, weapon trafficking, and more. Tackling this growing threat is important to the safety of store employees, customers, and communities across the country."
- Executive Associate Director
- Homeland Security Investigations
The Cost of Organized Retail Crime
Shoplifting syndicates costing retailers billions
Industry insiders are pointing to the ease of online reselling for helping crime rings thrive.Read Article
Couple sells $300,000 in stolen baby formula on eBay
A Shelby County couple has pleaded guilty to selling more than $300,000 worth of stolen baby formula online.Read Article
A father-daughter duo have been sentenced to more than five years in prison for deploying an army of shoplifters to steal millions in merchandiseRead Article
The study, which was done with exclusive data provided by some of the largest retailers in the country, reveals:
As much as $68.9 billion worth of products were stolen from retailers in 2019 (pre-COVID).
Nearly 67% of asset protection managers at leading retailers surveyed report a moderate to considerable increase in organized retail crime, while 80% believe it will only get worse in the future.
86.2% of retailers surveyed said a ORC subject has verbally threatened an associate; 75.9% said an ORC subject has physically assaulted an associate, 41% said an ORC subject has used a weapon to harm an associate
The economic impact of retail crime is profound. Retailers face increased costs for lost product, security, and labor, which lead to higher prices for consumers and ultimately, lower sales. Lower sales translate to fewer jobs throughout the economy. The result is $125.7 billion in lost economic activity and 658,375 fewer jobs, paying almost $39.3 billion in wages and benefits to workers.
Retail theft is not a problem just in major metropolitan areas, it is pervasive across America. In fact, one factor that is associated with lower levels of retail theft is the density of retail locations.
The impact of theft is felt through higher prices, and this impact is more acutely felt by low- and middle-income families.
It is estimated that retail theft costs federal and state governments nearly $15 billion in personal and business tax revenues, not including the lost sales taxes.
Organized retail crime is a far departure from petty shoplifting
“The lack of transparency online has made it easy to hide behind a screen name and fake business information to peddle stolen products. Washington needs to establish a base level of transparency on e-commerce platforms to make it harder for criminal enterprises to operate in the shadows of the Internet.”
- Buy Safe America Coalition
Discover More About the Coalition
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The ease of selling counterfeit and stolen goods to unsuspecting consumers has attracted organized criminal networks that are becoming more aggressive, manipulative and brazen as a growing number of Americans shop online amid the pandemic.Learn More
The INFORM Consumers Act
The time is now for Congress to modernize consumer protection laws by requiring online marketplaces to collect and verify basic seller information, and for sellers to provide that information to consumers.Learn More
What is Organized Retail Crime
Criminals are increasingly turning to online marketplaces to quickly and discretely move mass quantities of stolen merchandise. Unfortunately, these criminal rings are growing more brazen and violent, putting the safety of customers and store employees in jeopardy.Learn More