What is Organized Retail Crime?
Organized retail crime (ORC) refers to groups, gangs and sometimes individuals who are engaged in illegally obtaining retail merchandise through both theft and fraud in substantial quantities as part of a criminal enterprise. These crime rings generally consist of "boosters" - who methodically steal merchandise from retail stores - and fence operators who convert the product to cash or drugs as part of the criminal enterprise.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) 2011 Organized Retail Crime Survey revealed that criminals involved in organized retail crime are becoming more violent, putting the safety of both employees and customers at risk. The members of these crime rings are often engaged in other illegal activities. Retailers estimated 41 percent of apprehended offenders are involved in "gateway" crimes to include drugs, weapons and gang activity. Organized Retail Crime affects almost every single retailer, with 95 percent reporting they have been a victim of these crimes in the past 12 months. Losses from ORC are estimated at $15-30 billion annually.
Partnerships between law enforcement and retail investigators have formed to combat ORC. These associations share cross-jurisdictional information to identify, disrupt, and apprehend Organized Retail Crime crews.
UTORCA is a statewide crime-fighting partnership. This association allows retailers and law enforcement to communicate about criminal activity impacting businesses on a real-time basis while preventing other partners from being victimized. The searchable website and its mapping capabilities are focused on providing real-time criminal intelligence. Through this collaborative partnership, law enforcement and the business community are able to work together to identify offenders and resolve cases, all while developing new and innovative ways to combat ORC groups.