We learned at our inaugural Auror Connect event in March 2022 the true extent of Organized Retail Crime (ORC) and repeat offending for one of the world’s largest retailers. According to data collected on Auror’s platform, this retailer was seeing 10% of people who are offending driving 94% of their loss.
There isn’t a retailer in the world that hasn’t felt the impact of ORC - whether it’s having to deal with the increasing inventory shrink, struggling with empty shelves, or not being able to ensure a safe work environment.
How has ORC in North America been developing and how are retailers adapting? Let’s explore these questions and some trends with a specific focus on the United States and Canada.
How the ORC crisis is changing
The COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges for retailers like never before. The NRF’s 2021 Retail Security Survey showed 69% of retailers said the pandemic increased risks to their organizations. The top risks were workplace violence, ORC, and shoplifting. Most retailers also reported that ORC activity was more aggressive and violent than in previous years.
Based on data from the Auror platform, 12.8% of events reported by North American users in 2022 have involved threatening behavior. This includes COVID-19 threats, erratic behavior, and being under the influence. A further 6.2% of events involved serious behavior which refers to aggression, physical abuse, or carrying weapons.
The decriminalization of retail crimes is also driving an increase in ORC and had been doing so before the pandemic came along. In an effort to reduce overcrowding in prisons, many states increased their felony thresholds which means more people are getting away with shoplifting – 40 states have done this since 2000. A major result is that law enforcement officers are less hands-on and responsive to retail crimes, especially if they are non-violent.
These shifts have a serious impact on communities and are here to stay; that is, unless action is taken against them.
How North American retailers are taking action
Data from Auror’s platform shows users based in the US and Canada prevented more than $50.8 million in theft in 2021 and investigated almost $15 million in ORC theft. There were more than 45,000 people identified as repeat people.
These numbers have been playing out in real-life right in front of our eyes thanks to the relentless work retailers are doing to report, solve, and prevent crime through the platform. One recent case involved two high profile people working together to steal from a large retailer. They were responsible for 74 events and more than $212,000 in loss. Thanks to the exceptional work in gathering evidence and the eagle-eyed gaze of a store member who spotted one of the pair in-store, both people were arrested.
In another case, collaboration across state lines led to high-value items being returned and the inactivity of the person offending. This person had been targeting stores repeatedly and they were linked to 52 events totaling $125,000.
Building the future of ORC prevention
Retail crime doesn’t rest and neither do we!
Our team of product designers, engineers, and customer success specialists work hard everyday to improve our product and find the best ways to support our partners. Recent product updates have included automatic face redaction, personalized mobile notifications, and early detection and warning through license plate recognition.
We’re all about connecting the dots and something exciting our team has been working on is suggested merges using machine learning to link repeat people. The system will suggest profiles to merge based on data and attributes entered into the platform. Users can then compare the profiles and either confirm or deny the match. This technology will provide great value for partners and users of our platform.
Building a community is vital to succeeding against ORC. That’s why we started our Auror for ORCAs platform and a movement involving ORCAs across the country. The movement is now over a year old, with 20+ ORCAs working together in the platform to reduce the impact of crime in our communities.