I recently partnered with the Loss Prevention Foundation for a day of learning at the University of Cincinnati (UC). The Foundation invited 3SI and other Loss Prevention solution providers out to speak with both LP professionals and students interested in Loss Prevention careers. While the focus of the day was technology, a key point of interest was Organized Retail Crime (ORC).
As the VP of Retail Sales for 3SI, one of the biggest pain points I hear from customers is that their profitability is being attacked. ORC has wreaked havoc on retail sales. For the fourth consecutive year, loss due to inventory shrinkage has exceeded $700,000 per $1 billion in sales.
A recent study revealed that virtually all retailers surveyed report being a victim of ORC, with 97% having been victimized in the last 12 months.
In addition to financial loss, there are significant safety implications. Thirty-nine percent of the robberies reported in 2019 were armed, and more than two-thirds of retailers report that the violence and aggression exerted by organized retail crime offenders has increased over 44% from previous years.
To fight back, some retailers are investing in technology to better protect stock and strengthen relationships with law enforcement agencies. Technologies like RFID or EAS tags are popular for in-store use. GPS tracking has a broad range of applications. Trackers can be used to extend the initial point of contact beyond the store in robbery and burglary situations and can even be used to protect cargo in transit. Many of these new technologies are data-rich, providing actionable intelligence to help law enforcement quickly recover stolen merchandise and apprehend criminals safely away from employees and customers.
According to the NRF, 56% percent of retailers in the U.S. are allocating additional technology resources to combat organized retail crime, while 44% are increasing their loss prevention budgets, and rightfully so. The stakes are high.
Today’s asset protection professionals are questioning traditional means of security. They are interested in new technologies that will change the industry and finally put a stop to this growing organized retail gang problem. I had an opportunity to speak with several University of Cincinnati students. These soon to be graduates are thoughtful, curious, energetic and ready to help develop and implement emerging technologies. It was a rewarding and impactful learning day for me as well!