AG-Led task force convenes first meeting today

Jul 7, 2022
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Written by Washington Retail
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Attorney General Bob Ferguson will hold the first Washington Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Theft Task Force meeting at the AG’s Seattle offices today.

The meeting follows AG Ferguson’s June 23 task force announcement and is purposed to address the growing ORC problem in Washington State. Participating in the meeting will be representatives of law enforcement, prosecutors, retailers, loss prevention officers, and members of the AG’s staff. Washington Retail Association President/CEO Renée Sunde, Senior VP of Policy and Government Affairs Mark Johnson, and Communications Director Robert Haase will be attending.

Combatting ORC is one of WR’s top issues. The task force is one of several strategies in a multi-pronged approach necessary to slow retail theft. WR’s multi-pronged approach includes:

  • Passage of an online marketplace transparency bill – such as the INFORM Act – currently pending before Congress
  • Coordination with the Washington State Organized Retail Crime Association to increase communication among national, state, and local law enforcement agencies and loss prevention officers
  • Passing laws to support and fund law enforcement, enabling officers to do their jobs effectively by providing the tools to deter and apprehend criminals
  • Telling the story of how retail theft impacts retail employees, customers, and retailers of all types and sizes
  • Providing resources for small and mid-sized retailers on how to prepare, prevent, protect, and navigate post-crime –

WR has identified three primary goals we believe should be addressed through the work of the task force.

  • COORDINATION between retailers, law enforcement, and prosecutors at all levels of government,
  • ENFORCEMENT AND PROSECUTION of ORC theft groups,
  • A DETERRENT to retail theft—making it known that Washington State will not tolerate these types of activities.

Washington State experienced over $2.7 billion in retail theft in 2021, the second-highest in the nation per capita, according to the Retail Industry Leaders Association These crimes have led to increased prices for consumers and a loss of almost $270 million in sales tax revenues.