Recently, I have been asked for some points on combating ORC (Organized Retail Crime). In considering my responses to the questions that have been asked and in giving advice, tips, best practices I realized I truly enjoy the hunt, I had a lot of fun working ORC. With that said I decided one morning I would share my lessons learned via a blog. For those of you who are reading this and may not know what ORC is, it is not a single person shop lifting. This is legitimate organized crime. The people involved may not be Don Corleone but make no mistakes they are often as sophisticated, organized and smart. This is their job and they are good at it. For those of you who are out hunting the ORC crews, take a lesson from the Marines when overwhelmed by superior numbers during an ambush, attack into it. Speed and intensity!
My friend and former colleague Albert Chavez (by far one of the best RLPM’s in the LP field) and I were able to combat a much larger gang by gathering our thoughts and attacking with a simple plan. Train the store associates, meet the mall security and the police in the area and keep spreading the word, “We are hunting”. We were getting wins with little in the way of support. The activity in Al’s market started to decline.
We were successful because we knew our enemy. The ORC crews know their targets (the stores and the staff running those stores) better than most in the LP field do. The crews take the time to study the stores, sometimes even applying for jobs to learn what the policies of a store/company are before beginning their work. Crews will often know who the managers are, which manager or associate is going to challenge them, which ones will turn the other way until they leave out of fear or laziness. Refunder’s have been known to avoid stores if they happen to like the manager that is on duty so they don’t hurt his/her segment while others walk up to the manager and tell her “I know this is going to kill your segment, but I gotta do my business”.
Build the trust and confidence of the team in the stores and you will see shrink in your market/district go down. When the store associates see you care it translates into the company cares and then they start to care.
While Wikipedia is an open source and is not recommended for use in scholarly pursuits the following is a good definition I found to explain what ORC is:
“Organized retail crime refers to professional shoplifting, cargo theft, retail crime rings and other organized crime occurring in retail environments. One person acting alone is not considered an example of organized retail crime. The FBI has estimated that the losses attributed to organized retail crime could reach as much as $30 billion a year. These criminals move from store to store and even city to city. Working in teams, some create distractions while others steal everything from infant formula to DVDs. Often, they are stocking up on specified items at the request of the organized crime leader.”