What is Organized Retail Crime?
Across the United States the industry of retail has been continuously affected by groups of criminals committing theft and fraud for financial benefit. These groups are organized and effectively commit organized retail crime (ORC). These criminal groups are experts in deceptive fraud schemes, merchandise theft, economic crimes and operating criminal enterprises. The groups that focus on merchandise (property) theft schemes typically convert the illegally obtained merchandise into cash for personal profit. These merchandise thefts usually involve similar products (or multiples) and thefts from multiple physical retail storefronts, multiple jurisdictions or multiple states. Additionally, there is organized retail crime groups that focus on financial and economic crimes through the use of compromised payment cards, counterfeit financial instruments, and these crimes affect physical retail storefronts or ecommerce (digital) storefronts. These organized retail crime groups may overlap and operate in secondary retail/resale marketplaces. The secondary marketplaces may involve business owners and criminal groups/actors that work together through a conspiracy to defraud and with the intent to traffic stolen merchandise or prepaid gift cards.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported in 2016, "retailers see an average impact of $700,259 per $1 billion in retail sales," an increase from the 2015 report that showed $453,940.
Private and public sector partnerships have formed with law enforcement agencies, the retail industry (retail investigators, analysts, etc.) and financial institutions to investigate organized crime affecting the state of Colorado. These alliances share cross-jurisdictional information to identify, disrupt, and apprehend organized crime groups and criminal enterprises.
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The Colorado Organized Retail Crime Alliance is a statewide criminal investigative partnership and intelligence hub. It is the largest private and public sector organization in the state of Colorado that is focused on criminal investigations. The alliance and partnerships enable the retail industry, financial institutions and law enforcement to communicate about crime that affects businesses and communities. Based on this proven approach, the network is able to communicate activity in real time and helps reduce crime that affects merchants, businesses and consumers. The searchable website and its criminal mapping capabilities are focused on providing real-time intelligence. Through this collaborative partnership, law enforcement and the business community will be able to work together to identify offenders and resolve criminal cases, all while developing new and innovative ways to counteract organized crime and criminal enterprises.