Why Retailers Prioritize Organized Retail Crime Prevention

Retail theft, especially organized retail crime, tops the to-do list for retailers, loss prevention experts, lawmakers, and shoppers in 2024. Here’s why.

Last Updated:
March 18, 2024
| ~
min Read
Meg Moore
Marketing Writer


Retail theft, especially organized retail crime, tops the to-do list for retailers, loss prevention experts, lawmakers, and shoppers in 2024.

Despite increased media attention, theft is not a new phenomenon. Asset protection leaders sounded the alarm long before the pandemic, and retailers responded by implementing advanced loss-prevention strategies and innovative technologies.

Yet many retailers continue to struggle to stay ahead of bad actors’ actions, making the impact of ORC on small businesses a real concern. Software Advice’s 2023 Retail Shrink Survey revealed a sobering look at the issue, including:

·   Shrink as a percentage of sales has increased for over one-third of small to midsize retailers in the past year

·   For almost half of small retailers (46%), the rise is coming from external theft

·   45% of small to midsize retailers experience theft at least once per week, with one Chicago high-end clothing store experiencing three break-ins in three weeks


As the pandemic upended shoppers’ habits, supply chains, and resources for law enforcement, it also allowed organized retail crime syndicates to thrive. Not only did criminals find new ways to steal, but their tactics became more brazen and, in some cases, more violent. From smash-and-grab robberies at high-end stores to barcode-switching schemes at self-checkout kiosks, shoplifting is big business and incredibly lucrative for many bad actors.

Add thieves’ ability to find new customers under the cloak of anonymity on online shopping platforms, the problem multiplied, forcing retailers to make tough choices, including closing stores or reducing hours. Combatting organized retail crime is priority No. 1.


Retailers reported billions lost to shrink last year, telling the National Retail Security Survey 2023 that 65% of losses came from internal or external theft. In addition, many thieves are repeat offenders, as 70% of retailers said bad actors committed multiple thefts from the same store over the course of the year.

Software Advice’s 2023 Retail Shrink Survey revealed that while 54% of small to midsize retailers installed or updated security cameras in their stores within the past year, other studies show that a startling 68.5% of U.S. retailers lack dedicated ORC prevention departments.

Furthermore, the Retailer Industry Leaders Association issued a fact sheet in late 2023 to challenge perceptions about ORC. The organization reiterates the challenges business leaders, law enforcement, and statewide prosecutors face, noting “retailers would not be locking up product, spending billions on theft deterrent technology, deploying more live surveillance cameras and security guards, closing stores in high-crime areas and partnering with state attorneys general, Homeland Security and local prosecutors to address theft if it wasn’t a significant, industrywide problem.”


That’s why retailers aren’t alone in their fight against ORC. Collaboration with local law enforcement, state leaders, and federal government agencies is helping to address the issue. Recent initiatives include:

·  The 2023 Inform Act: Congress passed legislation mandating that online marketplaces enact transparency measures that deter criminals from selling stolen, counterfeit, or unsafe items on those platforms.

·   Special state ORC task forces: Across the country, from Illinois to Washington, states are earmarking resources to combat these crimes. 

·   Federal help: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Operation Boiling Point created a partnership of federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors, as well as asset protection leaders across financial, retail, freight transportation, and other industries to investigate and dismantle ORC groups.

Both Govs. Kathy Hochul of New York and Gavin Newsom of California made preventing retail theft a top priority in 2024. Earlier commitments to combat ORC in the Golden State are yielding results.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta recently announced charges against the leader of a prolific ORC syndicate. It’s alleged that the mastermind enlisted at least seven young women to steal popular beauty products at high-end cosmetics stores across 21 counties. The ringleader sold the estimated $8 million haul of high-demand products at a fraction of their retail price on her storefront hosted by the world’s largest e-commerce platform. 

“Organized retail crime has significant financial and safety implications for businesses, retailers, and consumers,” the attorney general said in a press release.


To safeguard stores, customers, and the community at large, consider these strategies to help prevent ORC:

  • Consider strategic live surveillance camera placement: Place retail security cameras at key points in your store, such as entrances, exits, cash registers, and high-value item areas. This helps to deter theft activities.
  • Invest in advanced technology: Opt for high-definition retail security cameras with features like motion sensors and low-light visibility that will deter thieves and aid in identifying and prosecuting offenders.
  • Leverage data and analytics: Analyze retail security surveillance camera footage to identify crime patterns. These insights will help predict and prevent future incidents. 
  • Train staff:  Recognizing suspicious behaviors, such as a gathering of a large group in front of the store or diversionary tactics. These are crucial indicators that can help your staff and law enforcement prevent theft. Developing an emergency response plan that covers how to react quickly and effectively if a situation does arise will help.
  • Conduct regular security audits: Conduct regular risk assessments to point out potential vulnerabilities in a store’s layout or security systems. Update security technology to counter new ORC methods and technologies.

Using enterprise video surveillance cameras, like LiveView Technologies’ remote surveillance system, is one effective way to prevent ORC. Deploying LVT Units, backed by the LVT Platform and AI-powered analytics capabilities, is a proven proactive security strategy to prevent ORC.

Our customers trust LVT to deter would-be criminals, defend their sites against bad actors, and help law enforcement investigate and prosecute crimes. Ready to learn more about LVT Units to combat ORC? Contact our team today for a demo.

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