Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Organized Crime in Retail

ORC Is Not Easy to Control
By: Alexandra Freeman

Organized Retail Crime is very serious to employees that work in retail because if goods are stolen then that is money taken away from the company which leads to less hours for employees.

What is ORC?
Many people have never heard of ORC unless they have worked in retail. ORC is short for Organized Retail Crime. This is a organization that go into stores, mostly retail, and steal large amounts of goods to resell online, in flea markets or family owned stores or businesses.

The people involved in ORC make a living by doing this.. According to the FBI the losses of goods in retail reach up to $30 billion a year.

Wikipedia refers to ORC as professional shoplifters. These criminals are not just one person it is a team who moves from store to store and city to city stealing billions of dollars. An ORC team is usually ran by a leader who request items that are to be stolen.

How do retailers control ORC?
Lindsay Cavender is an employee at Victoria's Secret in Kennesaw, GA. She says that is not easy to control ORC because it has become so big but with the training and experience she has received it is becoming a little easier.

"It makes me so mad that these people think they can do this, I'm on the lookout for signs of these people. When I see any suspicious behavior that might be someone involved in ORC I take action immediately," says Cavender.

According to Lindsay one of behaviors that she looks for is when a group comes into the store and will immediately split up. She also has been trained to know when she is being distracted by a shoplifter.
The Victoria's Secret where Cavender works at used to be a big hit for these shoplifters a year ago so the employees of the store brought in their loss prevention manager for numerous meetings and trainings that taught them how to spot and stop these people. She learned many tricks of an ORC team. For example, the members of ORC know when a big retailer gets a new product because that is what they are after new stuff so when a new product is launched Lindsay and other employees are on the lookout. Lindsay mentions that she looks for people coming in with big duffle bags or book bags she also looks for large bags from other stores that look like they are old or used. Many of these bags are lined with duct tape because they prevent the sensors to go off when leaving the store.

This Loss Prevention page has more information about what LP is and how it works.

Victoria Secret has a policy where one can not accuse one of stealing so the employees learn to give great customer service to those who they think might be stealing. They follow them around the store talking to them about products and sometimes the shoplifter will get scared and drop their bag of goods and run out of the store.

Not all retailers can easily spot ORC
Some stores are not as lucky as Victoria's Secret to get the training needed to spot ORC. Ashley Garille is an employee at Express in Kennesaw and she says that she does not know to spot a member of ORC.

"I recently started working at Express in the Fall and I have not received much training on ORC, I know what it is but I couldn't tell you how to spot one of these shoplifters," says Garille.

It seems that no matter what ORC will never be controlled. If a retailer does not talk about it consistently then it is very easy for these professional shoplifters to attack a company and steal thousands of dollars’ worth of goods.

Ashley mentions that she wishes she knew more but since her store has not been identified as a major spot for ORC they have never gotten the training that some other retailers have had. She feels that it is ridiculous that we have these kind of people in the world.

"What has the world turned into? These people are good, really good and they need to be stopped." says Ashley.

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