How Holiday Retailers Can Protect Themselves Against Organized Retail Crime

Technology advances by Genetec and other security manufacturers focus on prevention and evidence-gathering.

How Holiday Retailers Can Protect Themselves Against Organized Retail Crime

Photo courtesy of Genetec

The U.S. National Retail Foundation (NRF) reports that its members have once again cited organized retail crime (ORC) as one of the biggest threats to their businesses.

According to NRF’s 2023 National Retail Security Survey, 67% of retailers noted an increase in ORC-related violence and aggression compared with 2022.

A recent Coresight Research report found that consumers are worried too, with 73% concerned that retailers will raise prices to cover the cost of retail theft, and 56% fearing that stores in their communities could be closed due to rising retail crime.

Bolder Tactics Lead to New Mitigation Approaches

ORC continues to net significant profits for criminal enterprises, with widely publicized cases like one in which a crime ring stole $20 million in merchandise from retailers in just nine months. Tactics have become more blatant, with individuals simply entering stores and taking as much merchandise as possible.

In response, retailers are modernizing their security stance. The NRF study notes that in addition to bringing ORC teams on board, 44% of retailers surveyed have increased their use of technology to make it more difficult for criminals to steal items and to gather evidence that helps law enforcement catch and prosecute perpetrators.

Balancing Item Lockdowns With Customer Experience

While retailers continue to move items from open shelves to traditional lock-and-key cases, they’re also experimenting with new technologies. One solution retailers are exploring is securing cases with wireless access control locks connected to their unified Genetec Security Center system.

This deployment lets customers press a button to alert a store associate via the Genetec Mobile app that they’d like to open a case. Video confirms the request, and the store employee can unlock the case remotely. It is then automatically re-locked after the customer has removed the item.

Gathering Evidence to Apprehend and Prosecute

Retailers are taking steps to gather evidence and increasing their collaboration with law enforcement and prosecutors to help lead to the arrest and conviction of ORC gangs. Technology, including predictive analytics, automatic license plate readers (ALPR), body-worn cameras, and video evidence sharing platforms, can help coordinate efforts and lead to successful prosecution of these perpetrators.

Deploying a unified security platform like Genetec Security Center to tie these technologies together helps retailers streamline monitoring and response.

A unified platform also enables tools like Genetec Transaction Finder, which can help retailers quickly identify suspicious transactions by combining point-of-sale systems with corresponding video captured by surveillance cameras and offering exception-based reporting tools.

“Retailers are taking steps to address ORC from every angle whether it be to deter would-be criminals, to help law enforcement catch them, or to help prosecutors convict them,” says Scott Thomas, U.S. national director, signature brands, at Genetec. “Technology can support these new tactics and enable closer collaboration with cities and counties to protect their customers and staff and reduce losses.”

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