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08/17/2022

Retail Industry Joins With Law Enforcement to Keep Communities Safe

The aim of the partnership is to focus resources on cases that are vital to public safety. 
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Combatting Retail Crime for Safer Communities logo

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) are entering a first-of-its-kind national partnership to combat retail crime.

The launch of the collaboration follows a summit held on June 30, which brought together leading retailers and prosecutors' offices from around the country to establish open lines of communication between prosecutors and retailers, identify common challenges, share information on repeat offenders, and work together to identify criminal networks targeting local retailers.  

"Retail theft is not a victimless crime. As prosecutors, we must protect the safety of retail employees and customers by holding the individuals who commit thefts, violence and other retail-related offenses accountable for their crimes," said Erie County (N.Y.) District Attorney John J. Flynn, president of NDAA. "I look forward to continued discussions with the Retail Industry Leaders Association on how to uncover the criminals who profit from stolen merchandise, prevent thefts and enhance public safety for all who shop and work at our nation's retailers."

Bringing together prosecutors and retailers is essential to combatting organized retail crime and keeping communities safe, the associations jointly stated. Law enforcement agencies at multiple levels, including the federal government, have established the nexus between organized retail crime and violence, as well as broader criminal activity that includes human trafficking, cybercrimes, drug trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault. 

By sharing information and working together to identify the organized criminal networks operating in communities, the aim of the partnership is to focus resources on cases that are vital to public safety. 

"Retailers are extremely grateful to begin this partnership and develop stronger ties with local prosecutors who are on the front lines of keeping our communities safe. Organized retail crime is not petty theft. Our goal is to assist law enforcement with big cases, where organized criminal rings are stealing and reselling thousands —sometimes millions — of dollars in stolen product. These networks have become more violent and brazen in recent years, and this partnership is a tremendous opportunity to target career criminals and put them out of business," said RILA Senior Executive Vice President for Retail Operations Lisa LaBruno.

Through the partnership, NDAA and RILA will develop training, best practice guides, thought pieces, policy papers, webinars and other educational resources for retailers, prosecutors, law enforcement and communities.

To kick off the partnership, the two organizations will host a webinar on Oct. 8 on the new retail theft task force recently launched by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix.

More information on training courses is available here.

Combating Human Trafficking

As the eyes and ears of the community, convenience store retailers were asked to help provide a comprehensive review of human trafficking in the transportation sector.

Last year, NACS joined with more than 100 groups to participate in the 2021 National Outreach Survey for Transportation, led by United Against Slavery. The project analyzed frontline data from experts in all modes of transportation to craft policies and solutions to disrupt human trafficking and ultimately make it difficult, unattractive and unprofitable.

The convenience channel represents one-third of all retail stores in the United States with more than 150,000-plus c-stores. In addition to providing products and services, c-store retailers help address important national initiatives at a local level. NACS survey data shows that 40 percent of all consumers say that human trafficking is an issue they would support their local store in combating.

For more information the role the convenience channel plays in combating human trafficking, read the Convenience Store News special report.

Formed in 1950, National District Attorneys Association is the oldest and largest national organization representing state and local prosecutors in the country. It encompasses more than 5,000 members representing more than two-thirds of the state and local prosecutors’ offices.

Arlington-based Retail Industry Leaders Association is the U.S. trade association representing leading retailers.