“ORCAs should be asking themselves this question all the time: Why are we doing this? Do people want what we’re offering?”Charles Anderson
Charles Anderson, executive director of the Twin Cities Organized Retail Crime Association, began “Rise of the ORCAs: Crime Fighting Machines or Pipe Dreams?” with a reference to Simon Sinek’s point that people don’t buy what an organization does — they buy why they do it: A sense of purpose directly relates to an organization’s effectiveness and success.
“ORCAs should be asking themselves this question all the time,” Anderson said to attendees at the NRF PROTECT Loss Prevention Conference. “Why are we doing this? Do people want what we’re offering?”
The United States currently has nearly 50 distinct ORCAs in operation, according to Downing & Downing, with various levels of organization, sophistication and overall effectiveness. Some have little or no money, some are one-person operations, some are tied to lobbying groups and law enforcement agencies, some exist in name only.
Anderson said a successful ORCA is independent, customer-centric and a recognized nonprofit; as a result, it is better positioned to lead a public/private partnership to combat organized retail crime. If an ORCA is tied to lobbying groups or law enforcement agencies, how do they separate their missions? What if the priorities of those organizations change? Where does that leave the ORCA?
When it comes to the nuts and bolts of getting an ORCA off the ground, it’s not fun “but it doesn’t require a lawyer,” Anderson said. What is required is a focus on the basics: startup costs for things like insurance and logo design, finding and maintaining a website platform, developing a board that’s cross-industry and cross-functional.
"Criminals aren’t picky … they operate throughout the whole country."David Leinfelder
Going on to the essential functions and missions of an ORCA, Anderson went back to his earlier customer-centric observations: Who are your customers, he asked — what are their wants and needs?
They want a secure website, he said, and regular regional meetings for networking and intelligence sharing. They want an annual training conference and ongoing training seminars. They want multi-jurisdictional efforts — here Anderson spoke of Operation Blitz during the holidays, in which the combined efforts of some 30 jurisdictions resulted in high-profile arrests.
TCORCA grew organically after several local groups began meeting periodically to exchange ideas and share intelligence. As the organization grew, it brought in and engaged with smaller local groups, both in the public and private sector.
David Leinfelder, president of TCORCA, said the group’s vision is to impact communities and businesses to make them safer while focusing on organized retail crime and the tactical functions the organization can implement to achieve that mission.
TCORCA’s leaders shared credit for the organization’s success, saying alliance organizations in San Diego and Cook County, Ill., helped by sharing basic information such as by-laws. Leinfelder noted the importance of being transparent about best practices, saying it’s the best way to get to a national platform that facilitates information sharing.
“Criminals aren’t picky … they operate throughout the whole country,” Leinfelder said. If organizations can’t communicate, they can’t collaborate to bring those criminals to justice.