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Marketplaces Industry Ponders Organized Retail Crime Threat at First-Ever ORC Conference

March 9, 2023

Leading marketplace developers, retailers, law enforcement and academia gathered Wednesday at ICSC’s first-ever event dedicated to the impact of organized retail crime. ICSC partnered with the Loss Prevention Research Council within the University of Florida INNOVATE Hub to host the Organized Retail Crime Summit in Gainesville, Florida.

Speakers and attendees included executives from ICSC, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the National Retail Federation, the University of Florida’s Loss Prevention Research Council, the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training/Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education at Louisiana State University, the FBI and representatives from the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail.

Sessions at the one-day summit featured insights on the scope of the problems caused by ORC and retail violence, opportunities through research and collaborative information sharing, and legislation as a means to abate ORC.

Sen. Charles “Chuck” Grassley, R-IA, a sponsor of the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023, spoke about how this and other legislation, including the recently enacted INFORM Consumers Act, are critical steps toward limiting organized retail crime. ORC has a serious impact on businesses and communities, Grassley said. “These crimes are not by people looking for their next meal. They are sophisticated networks that deserve a sophisticated response,” he said.

Sen. Charles “Chuck” Grassley addresses ICSC and the Loss Prevention Research Council’s Organized Retail Crime Summit on March 8.

ORC poses immense risk to retailers, small businesses and the Marketplaces Industry. According to NRF, total shrink accounted for $94.5 billion in losses in 2021 in the U.S., up from $90.8 billion the year prior. ORC contributes to these significant losses and is increasingly accompanied by violence and aggressive acts. Three-quarters of retailers reported ORC resulted in the physical assault of an employee. “Violent crime isn’t just a threat to our economy,” Grassley said. “It is a threat to the everyday American who works the cash register, restocks the aisles or the people who take their kids to stores.”

From a public policy perspective, the audience was encouraged to engage their local, state and national elected officials on this issue by sharing stories of how ORC has affected their businesses and communities. Developing and sharing data about the negative impact of ORC is also a crucial part of the puzzle. 

The summit succeeded in its goal of helping attendees understand the impact of ORC on their businesses and how they can mitigate it across the industry, said ICSC president and CEO Tom McGee. “The Organized Retail Crime Summit expands our efforts to put a stop to ORC by creating a space for discussion, education and collaboration on meaningful solutions that protect retailers and marketplaces.”

More information on ICSC’s efforts to combat ORC can be found here.

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