Analysis of ORC can be made difficult by the ambiguity of what constitutes this type of crime and how it differs from other retail crimes such as petty shoplifting and consumer fraud. The categorization criteria of ORC amongst the retail industry is widespread, however, there are ways to gather information about the local and national ORC problem (CISP):

  • Apprehended organized retail criminals may provide valuable information on how their criminal network is organized, how they select their targets (both locations and merchandise), and fencing operations. However, these criminals are typically the lower-level members of a ring and their information may not lead to disrupting the ringleaders.
  • Routine inventory counting of ORC targeted products may determine more information about when, how, and what is being stolen. This process is labor intensive and losses may also be attributed to other shrinkage factors.
  • CCTV footage, although not a deterrent to organized retail criminals, can be used to determine when the thefts occurred, how many criminals were involved, and their modus operandi. This footage can also be used as a training and educational tool for associates.
  • Anonymous telephone hotlines can offer informed associates an opportunity to report ORC activity.
  • Centralized or shared organized retail theft databases, comprised of retailers and law enforcement agencies, supply information such as offenders, merchandise, and targeted locations.
  • Local and national databases are available through a membership program. These databases rely on accurate and timely reporting of information and not all retailers affected by ORC participate.
  • Retail theft surveys can provide insight into the effect ORC is having on retailers, what products are being targeted, and how they are being re-distributed back into the marketplace. However, these surveys rely on a self-reporting system and the voluntary participation of companies could result in selection bias with a skewed result that is not necessarily representative of the entire industry.


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