Retailers Claim That Organized Thefts Are At Record High Crisis Levels — The Numbers Don’t Agree

  • Despite “smash & grab” thefts captured on smartphones and closed-circuit cameras endlessly looping on social media and TV news, they are not the major threat that retailers claim.
  • Retail and law enforcement lobbyists like to cite shocking dollar amounts, but in reality, the best estimates available put losses at about 7 cents per $100 of sales.
  • The country’s largest retail industry group, the National Retail Federation, estimates that losses from organized retail theft averages 0.07% of total sales — roughly 330 times lower than the CRA’s estimate.

Sam Dean from The Los Angeles Times writes:

“Organized retail crime is haunting the nation this holiday season.

Captured on smartphones and closed-circuit cameras, thefts involving groups of people smashing windows or individuals wheeling loaded shopping carts past security guards and out the door have been looping on social media and TV news, raising the specter that crime rings reselling boosted merchandise present a major threat to retailers.

With industry groups sounding the alarm, politicians have declared the issue a priority. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would increase the budget of the California Highway Patrol next year to beef up its Organized Retail Theft task force. California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta met with retailers, online marketplace companies and law enforcement Tuesday to develop strategies to fight organized retail crime. Police and prosecutors say criminal justice reforms need to be rolled back to deter smash-and-grabs.

Although some retail and law enforcement lobbyists cite eye-popping figures, there is reason to doubt the problem is anywhere near as large or widespread as they say. The best estimates available put losses at around 7 cents per $100 of sales on average…”

See full story here.

Categories: Business, Economy, Politics

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