Last week, WR delivered key presentations to two Chamber of Commerce events regarding the critical issue of organized retail crime (ORC) and its influence on public safety in Washington state. On May 16, the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce conducted its Crime Prevention Summit at City Hall, with local business owners and representatives attending. The event was officiated by Miriam Battson, the Chamber’s President & CEO.
During the event, Mark Johnson, WR’s VP of Policy & Government Affairs, emphasized the prevalence of retail crimes posing threats to local businesses, employees, and customers. He elaborated on WR’s steadfast commitment to curbing these threats and relentless pursuit of policies that provide tangible support to law enforcement and employers alike. Mark recognized that an active partnership between retailers and law enforcement agencies is essential to mitigating these risks and how WR is dedicated to creating and advocating for legislation that empowers these entities in the face of organized retail crime.
Robert B. Haase, WR’s Director of Communications, pointed out the resources available for retailers on the WR website. The support materials include the comprehensive 24-page Guide to Public Safety & Retail Crime, and others which offer strategies to safeguard patrons and employees while reducing the instances of theft and vandalism. Additional presentations were made by key figures in Gig Harbor, including the Mayor, Chief of Police, and City Prosecutor.
On May 18, WR’s efforts continued at a sold-out Bellevue Chamber of Commerce event. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Renée Sunde, WR President/CEO, spoke on pressing public safety issues, retail theft, and ORC impacting Bellevue’s businesses and community. The State Legislature has committed $2.265 million to fund an ORC Task Force aimed at coordinating investigations across different jurisdictions and supporting county prosecutors in handling criminal cases.