Associate Magazine FBINAA Q2-2023

FBINAA FBI National Academy Associates, Inc. Strategic AMBASSADOR LEVEL Alliance 2023

In recent years, organized retail crime (ORC) has become a significant problem for both retailers and the law enforcement entities responsible for investigating and prosecuting these offenses. A study con ducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that retailers, on average, saw a 26.5 percent increase in ORC incidents in 2021 compared to the previous year. In addition to the direct financial losses, ORC also presents public safety concerns as these crimes are becoming more violent. A recent survey of asset protection managers found that 76 percent of respondents reported physical assault against retail associates as a result of ORC, while 40 percent reported attacks involving weapons. ORC offenders also frequently break up their thefts into smaller quantities across multiple jurisdictions, reducing their chances of being caught or penalized and creating greater chal lenges for law enforcement. In order to combat this dangerous trend, it is crucial to de velop strategies that enhance cross-jurisdictional collaborations between state and local law enforcement as well as the retail industry. This can be facilitated through the utilization of new technologies, such as license plate reader cameras, which enable businesses to aid law enforcement by providing them with the concrete and actionable evidence necessary for investigating Organized retail crime is a sophisticated form of theft where groups of people steal large quantities of high-value items from retailers, such as electronics, designer clothing, and cosmetics, with the intent of reselling it for profit. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), ORC costs retailers billions of dollars each year, making it a serious threat to the industry. ORC groups are often involved in other criminal activities, such as drugs and human trafficking, making it a seri ous problem for law enforcement as well. ORC is different from traditional shoplifting, as it involves a more organized and coordinated effort. These groups often have a specific target and use various tactics, such as distraction, counterfeiting, and online fraud, to carry out their activities. ORC groups also have access to technology and tools that make it easier for them to steal and resell merchandise. and prosecuting these criminal organizations. WHAT IS ORGANIZED RETIAL CRIME?

FBINAA.ORG | Q2 2023

The impact of ORC on retailers is significant. In addition to the direct financial loss from stolen merchandise, retailers also face the cost of increased security measures, employee training, and legal fees. ORC also harms the broader community, as the stolen merchandise may end up in the hands of unsuspecting consumers, who unknowingly buy counterfeit or stolen products. BENEFITS OF LICENSE PLATE RECOGNITION SYSTEMS Around 70 percent of crimes involve a vehicle, according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This means that license plates are one of the most valuable investigative leads that law enforcement can obtain when investigating a case. Automated license plate recognition (ALPR) camera systems are specifically calibrated to detect and recognize license plates. Unlike traditional video security cameras, an ALPR system makes license plate reader evidence easily accessible and quickly searchable to help pare down hundreds of potential vehicles to a few or even one suspect vehicle. Additionally, there are ALPR systems that offer advanced search capabilities that can help identify vehicles linked to multiple crimes or identify accomplice vehicles, such as those involved in ORC. If a crime occurs, even without a full plate num ber, law enforcement officers can narrow down footage based on the timeframe, vehicle color, vehicle type, make, or other descriptors, such as alterations and damage. This investigative evidence can then be used to quickly solve cases, strengthen prosecutions, and gather intelligence to reduce future crimes. COLLABORATION IS KEY It is imperative that law enforcement agencies form strong, strategic partnerships with their local businesses to address retail violence. Enhanced information sharing and collabora tion between law enforcement and the private sector facilitate a better understanding of the extent and nature of the threat presented by ORC. This also helps identify the most effective ap proaches for law enforcement and the retail industry to address this criminal issue. By utilizing technology such as ALPR camera systems, law enforcement can better collaborate with retailers in order to mitigate risks and intercept threats in real time. Some ALPR systems enable law enforcement to receive “Hot List” alerts on vehicles that have been known to participate in ORC. If a city has created a virtual perimeter around their shop ping districts using ALPR cameras, they will be alerted if a “Hot List” vehicle enters or exits their shopping district. Police can then take appropriate measures to likely deter additional crimes before they take place. For example, last year, police in Greenwood, Indiana received an ALPR camera alert that a wanted vehicle associ ated with an ORC ring targeting high-end stores was traveling in a shopping district. After the vehicle passed one of their ALPR cameras installed around the mall perimeter, officers responded immediately, arresting the suspect and recovering stolen items.

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