Gone are the days when you only had to protect your merchandise from local shoplifters. Now there are professionals whose job is to steal from retailers. And they aren’t alone. Instead, they band together to form groups when committing their crimes, which is called organized retail theft. These criminal groups plan out their thefts ahead of time, from choosing which retailers to target, which items to steal, and the shoplifting method to help them achieve their goals. Then, once they have the stolen merchandise, they quickly resell it as legitimate goods online. 

There’s a lot of evidence suggesting that organized retail crime will continue to increase in the upcoming years, so protecting your staff, shoppers, and inventory must be a top priority. This article will provide a thorough review of what is organized retail theft and how these groups operate, with what you can do to protect your business.  

A Deeper Look at What is Organized Retail Theft 

Organized retail theft is a large-scale operation that spans the country and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The National Retail Federation even included detailed information and data about them in their report. You can read about organized retail crime starting on page 24.

One thing that makes organized retail theft so dangerous is their extensive knowledge of state laws. These groups know how to maneuver around shoplifting laws and avoid prosecution. To learn more about this issue, we wrote an article discussing what happens when legal consequences don’t deter theft. You can read it here.

How Organized Retail Crime Groups Operate  

If you noticed increased media attention surrounding organized retail crimes, you probably have an idea of some of their preferred shoplifting methods. And sometimes, the reality is unsettling, but the more you know about these criminals, the better you can protect yourself from them. 

There are several methods that organized retail crime groups could use when attacking a retailer. And it’s important to note that they typically coordinate and plan their attack so that they know what’s about to happen when they enter the store. 

Here are a few examples of different shoplifting methods they’ll use. 

  • Smash-and-Grab Attacks – A large group of individuals arrive together and take as many products as they can and quickly leave 
  • Return Fraud – Individuals attempt to return stolen items by:
    • Using stolen receipts 
    • Switching price labels 
    • Removing pieces from an electronic device and then returning it
  • Shelf Sweeping – Walking through the store, sweeping a shelf of all its items, then leaving before anyone notices 

What You Can Do to Help Reduce Organized Retail Theft 

Unfortunately, the best way to reduce organized retail theft is at a federal level. One of the best ways is for Congress to make online high-volume third-party sellers disclose their information to ensure the legitimacy of their merchandise. 

Additionally, individual states can make some changes to help combat these crimes. Some changes can include: 

  • Have a clear definition of organized retail crime
  • Increase the thresholds for the value of stolen merchandise that results in a felony 
  • Have more powerful consequences for shoplifters 
  • Have task forces track organized retail crime rings across the state 

Your Part

If you’re unsure what you can do to help deter organized retail crime in your area, you can use many valuable sources of information to your advantage. Here are just a few you can check out.

Protect Your Products from Organized Retail Theft 

We just provided you with a lot of information on organized retail theft, so now we’re going to share what you can do to help protect your business from it. 

There are hundreds of loss prevention devices that claim they can deter shoplifters from stealing, but at Product Protection Solutions (PPS), we follow the data. We suggest options that have proof of their effectiveness. So, we recommend IMCo Solutions products because of their high-quality devices and feature options when it involves organized retail crime. 

  • Features a dual-purpose Early Warning Solution that features beeping sounds to:
    • Show shoplifters, you monitor those products 
    • Notify staff about shelf activity 
  • Customizable alarm options 
  • Battery-powered devices, so it continues to operate even during power failures 
  • Secures inventory at the POS
  • Simple installation 

IMCo Solutions Product Options 

You can choose from their loss prevention or in-store analytics lines for any of the options below. Review the product pages for the items below to see the data behind their devices, 

Start Protecting Your Location Today 

Contact us to learn more about IMCo’s loss prevention devices and find the option that’s the right fit for you.