Since writing a story about organized retail crime (OCR), I’m suspicious of everyone I see at the supermarket.
Could the seeming innocent young mom placing baby food in her cart really be signaling her partner in crime that the time is right to clear the shelf of Similac?
What about that woman in Aisle 5? In the past, I may have admired her designer handbag. Today I wonder if it’s a foil-lined “booster bag” designed to deactivate product security tags.
How about that man in the car in the parking lot? Is he really waiting for his wife to return with a gallon of milk, or is he the getaway driver?
Despite my exaggeration, these and other criminal activities are actually happening around the country as organized crime rings deplete the shelves of formula, cigarettes, energy drinks, liquor, allergy medicine, diabetic testing strips and other expensive items.
Nine in 10 retailers say they have been victims of ORC in the past 12 months, and more retailers say the activity is on the rise, according to National Retail Federation’s 2012 ORC survey.
But retailers are fighting back. Following are five ways to deter ORC incidents:
Remove Product from the Shelf
Some retailers merchandise razors, formula and other high-theft items behind the customer service counter or in locked displays.
Surveillance cameras are nothing new at retail, but some retailers are now installing monitors near high-theft items so that shoppers see themselves and know they’re being watched.
Magnetic strips affixed to product packaging will set off an alarm if the product is illegally removed from the store.
Retailers are working with lawmakers to pass legislation to define ORC as a federal crime, which provides tougher sentences and more resources to law enforcement officials.
Some companies hold training programs to help retail employees identify and understand the economic effect of ORC.
Read Related Story: Retailers Focus on Theft Prevention