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Survey: ORC Turning Violent More Often

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Fewer retailers say they have been victims of organized retail crime, but most believe incidents are on the rise — and are turning violent more frequently.

NRF’s 2013 Organized Retail Crime Survey found 94 percent of retailers experienced ORC in the past year, down from 96 percent last year. But the figure has stayed above 90 percent for three years in a row, and 81 percent said they believed ORC activity was more frequent regardless of whether they had experienced it themselves.

Violence ranging from verbal assault of store clerks to assault and battery during apprehensions occurred in 18 percent of ORC cases, up from 15 percent last year and 13 percent in 2011, according to the survey.

“We are extremely concerned by the organized patterns that are taking place in the retail industry right now as these crime gangs continue to find ways to maneuver the system,” says NRF vice president for loss prevention Rich Mellor. “With the types of organized retail crimes changing in severity every year, retailers remain vigilant in their fight against ORC.”

For the first time, NRF asked retailers about thieves who steal merchandise and then return it to obtain store credit in the form of gift cards that can be sold for cash at kiosks, pawn shops or check-cashing stores. A total of 78 percent had experienced such incidents.

NRF is continuing to push for federal ORC legislation, and 28 states have passed ORC laws.