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Organized Retail Crime on the Rise

Economy playing a part in increased theft.

Crooks are using the current recession as a new business opportunity, according to a recent survey released by the National Retail Federation.

The group’s fifth annual Organized Retail Crime survey found that 92 percent of retailers have been victims of organized retail crime during the past year, an 8 percent increase over the prior year. The survey also revealed that 72 percent of participating retailers have identified organized crime syndicates that are exporting goods across state lines or outside the U.S.

“The unfortunate economic events of the past year have played an intricate role in how criminals continue to rip off the retail industry,” Joe LaRocca, NRF senior asset protection advisor, said in a press release. “Organized retail crime rings have realized that tough economic times present new business opportunities by stealing valuable items from retailers and turning around to sell the merchandise to consumers looking for bargains.”

The survey found that the average retailer spends about $215,000 a year on labor costs aimed at fighting organized retail crime, and 42 percent of those polled said they were increasing their resource allocation to thwart criminals.

While the survey found that law enforcement officials are stepping up efforts, a polling of loss prevention executives stated that only 38 percent agreed that police officers, detectives and federal law enforcement agencies understood the scope and severity of organized retail crime.

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