According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Survey, 96% of retailers were affected by Organized Retail Crime (ORC) in 2012. The survey goes on to say that total annual losses from ORC are approximately $15 – 30 billion. What is ORC exactly? ORC is essentially an individual or group of individuals commonly referred to as boosters who steal large quantities of merchandise from retail stores with the intent to resell it to black market resellers. In turn, the black market resellers will sell the stolen merchandise on the streets or in plain sight in stores. This boosters move methodically from state to state hitting different retail stores along the way. They often work in teams where one team member will distract the store personnel, while the rest of the team runs out with bags full of goods. Most retailers don’t want their employees getting injured, and thus they are strongly encouraged not to chase or attempt to apprehend the thieves in any way. Furthermore, the shoplifters typically speed off in cars that were parked right outside of the store exit before the store personnel realizes what’s happening. Retailers also lose merchandise via fraudulent activities, such as switching UPC Bar Cods on products, purchasing products with stolen credit cards, or make fictitious receipts to return products back to stores. All of these practices fall under ORC.
Since it’s virtually impossible to stop or even contain ORC, security companies are simply trying to make it more difficult for the black market resellers to actually sell the stolen goods. For example, ALL-TAG makes a 31×32 mm (1.2 X 1.3”) Radio-Frequency RF label with a special permanent adhesive that makes it impossible to remove the label from a product’s packaging without damaging the packaging. The retail store’s logo, address, telephone number, and a message requesting that the stolen product be reported if it is sold anywhere else can be printed on the label. Brightly colored labels can also be provided for an even greater deterrent. The bottom line is that no reputable retail store would purchase stolen products branded with these labels, or with damaged packaging. Once these professional thieves discover the products that have Branding Labels attached to them, they will likely leave those particular products alone and move on to the lower hanging fruit.