Friday, October 31, 2008

Opportunity for better retail security

"When state and federal law enforcement officers in June recovered more than $5.5 million in stolen goods and arrested 17 suspected members of a Bay Area shoplifting crime ring, it was clear it was more than a typical shoplifting bust."

"The theft of large volumes of goods - razor blades, Oil of Olay, Tylenol and other merchandise from such well-known retailers as Safeway, Target and Walgreens - was part of an organized crime ring.

Organized retail crime, which FBI officials estimate accounts for as much as $30 billion in losses a year nationwide, is on the rise and expected to increase in the holiday season and as the economy worsens, according to experts speaking Wednesday at the Northern California Organized Retail Crime Conference and Symposium in Newark."

"Retail experts say criminals are increasingly using technology - cell phones and devices that can duplicate store tags, false bar codes and receipts - as a means to outwit sales personnel or in-store security.

Even "booster bags" - aluminum-foil lined bags that block the ability of store sensors to detect surveillance tags - have gotten more difficult to detect as thieves create lined "booster baby strollers," often complete with a real child."

Organized retail crime stats
-- Organized retail crime in the United States accounts for $15 billion to $30 billion in losses a year.

-- In California alone, retail crime accounts for about $242 million in lost sales taxes.

-- 85 percent of retailers surveyed told the National Retail Federation that they had been victims of organized crime in the past year.

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