WR’s communication director, Robert Haase, gave a presentation on organized retail crime (ORC) at this week’s Thurston County Multiple Listing Sales Association meeting in Tumwater, WA. In his opening remarks, Bob said, “You might be wondering why the Washington Retail Association is presenting to a room full of realtors about ORC.” When he asked, “Do any of you shop online or in stores here in Thurston County?” Everyone’s hands went up. “Then ORC affects you.”
With the recent launch of the Washington State Retail Crime Task Force, led by A.G. Bob Ferguson, the public is becoming more aware of the increasingly brazen acts of violence and aggression our front-line workers face daily. Retail businesses have been struggling with staffing their stores, and without a plan to provide a safe environment for workers and customers, hiring will be an even more significant challenge.
WR is addressing ORC, retail theft, and public safety with a six-pronged approach. One of the prongs involves providing free resources to small and mid-sized retailers on how to prepare, prevent, protect, and navigate post-crime events. These resources are on our website, including our guidance document, the Guide to Navigating Public Safety & Retail Crime. The five other prongs to fighting ORC include:
- Passage of an online marketplace transparency bill such as INFORM Act (H.R. 5502, S.936 or HB 1614 / SB 5533)
- Coordination with the Washington State Organized Retail Crime Association (WAORCA) to increase communication among national, state, and local law enforcement agencies and loss prevention officers
- Engaging with and supporting the efforts of the Washington State Organized Retail Crime Task Force
- 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
WR’s goals for the state task force are three-fold, including, 1) coordination between retailers, law enforcement, and prosecutors at all levels of government, 2) enforcement and prosecution of ORC theft groups, and 3) creating a deterrent to retail theft criminals, making it known that Washington State will not tolerate these activities.
If you have any questions about how to become involved in our fight against ORC, contact Mark Johnson, our Sr. VP of Policy & Govt. Affairs by phone at (360) 704-0048, or email him at [email protected].