WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation today urged Congress to formally advance the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act, which would amplify resources and coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to address ORC. The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance meets tomorrow at a hearing entitled “Rise in Organized Retail Crime and the Threat to Public Safety” to examine the impact of ORC on communities nationwide.
NRF submitted a written statement for the record in advance of the hearing detailing the growing negative impact of ORC on American businesses, workers and consumers.
According to the statement:
“Retailers’ foremost concern with ORC activity is the safety of retail workers and their customers. Individuals and groups committing these crimes have used threats and acts of violence, including the use of weapons, to aid theft. Eighty percent of retailers noted an increase in violence and aggression by customers toward workers in 2021. Extremely concerning is the depressing fact that several retail workers have been killed during recent theft incidents — including trained security personnel as well as retail workers serving in customer-facing roles.
“As more acts of blatant and deadly thefts take place in stores, the consequences are apparent for both retailers and consumers alike. Both store associates and customers are being harmed and threatened. Shoppers are now seeing everyday items like toothpaste and dish soap behind lock and key. Retailers know it is an inconvenience for customers. The anti-theft security measures can lead to lost sales from customers who must wait for an employee to unlock a cabinet so they can access a product. As the theft of merchandise continues, the cost of securing those items skyrockets. Retailers already operate on very slim margins and can only absorb so much cost to remain profitable.”
The testimony also cited NRF’s latest research on retail crime, which shows retail loss is a nearly $100 billion problem and growing. Another study cited from NRF and global risk advisory firm K2 Integrity found that ORC groups are growing in both their scope and complexity, making them harder to stop. Both reports highlight the need for federal solutions like the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act.
The hearing follows last week’s NRF PROTECT event, where more than 2,000 retail professionals convened in Grapevine, Texas, to examine the loss prevention community’s most prominent issues, including ORC. In a flash poll during the event among 232 retail professionals, 90% said ORC is more of a risk to their business than it was three years ago.
As the leading authority and voice for the retail industry, NRF has spearheaded industry efforts to address ORC, including support for the now-enacted INFORM Act, which takes effect on June 27. The organization has also launched a national grassroots campaign in support of the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act.
The National Retail Federation passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail succeed. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies. nrf.com