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NRF: Theft Still a Problem for Retail Industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Industry partnerships, concerned law enforcement officers and resilient retailers have done their part to make a small dent in the growing problem of organized retail crime (ORC), but new research shows there's still a lot of work to be done.

According to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) sixth annual ORC survey, 89.5 percent of retailers surveyed said their company has been a victim of ORC within the past 12 months, a slight decrease from last year's 92.2 percent. The survey also found nearly six out of 10 retailers (58.9 percent) have seen an increase in ORC activity in the last 12 months, down from nearly three-quarters (73.0 percent) last year.

"The relationships retailers have built with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are making it harder for felons, but billions are still being lost each year from this exhausting battle with criminals," NRF Senior Asset Protection Advisor Joe LaRocca stated. "NRF will continue to lead the fight to make sure these criminals are severely punished while federal agents and police continue to wipe out other crime rings."

As the economy continues its slow recovery, retailers are starting to invest more resources into ORC awareness and prevention. Nearly half of retailers (48.4 percent) said they are allocating additional resources, up from 41.8 percent of respondents last year.

When asked if they believe top management understands the complexity and severity of ORC, 50.0 percent of retailers said yes, up from 48.7 percent last year. Many retailers surveyed also said law enforcement understands the problem the retail industry faces (39.5 percent this year vs. 37.7 percent in 2009).

For the first time in the survey's history, NRF asked retail executives to list the cities where organized retail crime affects their stores and/or distribution centers most. The top 10 cities in alphabetical order are: Baltimore/Washington, D.C./Northern Va.; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami/Ft. Lauderdale; New York/Northern New Jersey; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and Tampa/Orlando.

The 2010 NRF Organized Retail Crime survey was conducted April 20 - May 18. Senior loss prevention executives at 124 different companies completed the survey with the purpose of identifying the depth of organized retail crime throughout the industry.

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