FMI Joins NRF, EBay in Fighting ORC

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Food Marketing Institute announced that it is teaming up with the National Retail Federation, Washington, and eBay to tackle the growing problem of organized retail crime.

This relationship promotes greater collaboration and information sharing between grocery loss prevention professionals and the FBI as well as state and local law enforcement agencies.

The partnership between FMI, NRF and eBay will also "further strengthen the ability to support legislation and create standards and best practices so criminals find no safe harbor to fence their stolen goods no matter who they steal from," said Rhett Asher, vice president, industry relations, FMI, in a statement. "We are excited to be a part of this collaborative effort to put an end to organized retail crime."

The groups have agreed to:

• Bring together a core group of FMI retail members and representatives of eBay on a regular basis to discuss organized retail crime, identify best practices in prevention, and take steps to eradicate the criminal activity.

• Leverage new technology, including LERPnet and eBay's PROACT programs, to further assist law enforcement in identifying and tracking organized retail crime rings.

• Collaborate with the FBI to help identify crime rings that have been responsible for stealing merchandise in bulk.

• Work together on legislation to enhance federal law enforcement resources to combat organized retail crime and punish major offenders through enhanced criminal penalties.

"EBay is fully committed to playing a leadership role in the Internet community to combat retail crime, and that includes actively partnering with leadership organizations such as FMI who bring expertise, energy and important retail businesses to the effort," said Paul Jones, eBay's global director of asset protection, in a statement. "We are excited about how eBay, FMI, NRF and many of the nation's top retailers are working together to stop criminals, protect consumers, improve business practices and build a culture of loss prevention cooperation, top to bottom."

"Recent organized retail crime cases across the country demonstrate the sophisticated tactics being used by these criminal enterprises and need for collaboration between retailers, online marketplaces and law enforcement," said Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor, NRF, in a statement. "The addition of FMI to the existing partnership between NRF and eBay will foster greater collaboration and development of best practices to stop criminals from fencing their stolen goods to unsuspecting shoppers."

Organized retail crime has long been a challenging issue for both retailers and secondary marketplaces. Nearly two-thirds of supermarkets say they have seen an increase in the amount of ORC activity, according to FMI's Supermarket Security and Loss Prevention 2009 report. The survey found that 78% of grocery stores say they are allocating more resources to combat ORC.