Thefts remain a focus for retailers – June loss prevention conference planned

May 29, 2019
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

The National Retail Federation will host NRF Protect, a national loss prevention conference, on June 11-13 in Anaheim, California.

The conference will cover a variety of loss prevention topics including learning more about cyber and digital crime, risk management, building an effective work culture and the various kinds of thefts and fraud that threaten retailers. Click here to learn more and register.

NRF estimates that retailers lose more than $45 billion in stolen merchandise every year.

I participated on a conference call this week about organized retail theft and how to address it. NRF hosted the call with a focus on its Northwest Region including Washington State. We heard from NRF’s Loss Prevention Chief Bob Moraca and Christopher Shull, the Multnomah County District Attorney in Oregon.

Shull urged retailers to gather evidence and share it with prosecutors as soon as possible, preferably at the time of arrest, to better help build effective legal cases against suspects. He also recommended that video evidence from surveillance is particularly helpful in gaining convictions.

We also learned that crackdowns are underway across the nation to apprehend and prosecute organized retail theft rings. We learned of a successful “Spring Cleaning” in Georgia from which valuable techniques may be shared in other states.

Washington Retail has long focused on identifying ways to combat organized retail theft. We are a member of the active and successful Washington State Organized Retail Crime Alliance (WSORCA) composed of loss prevention officers and law enforcement throughout the state.

During the 2019 Legislative Session, WR helped pass two bills to establish treatment programs for drug addicts and the mentally ill who make up a significant portion of organized retail theft rings. Suspects typically sell stolen products on the internet to continue buying drugs.