According to the 2010 NRF ORC (Organized Retail Crime) Survey, 89% of retailers said they have been victimized by organized retail crime and 59% say the problem has increased. Even those staggering numbers seem low, as my guess is that nearly every single retailer has been a target of ORC. Who are the 11% who said they weren’t affected by ORC?
One of the biggest roadblocks to stopping these thieves is the fact that there is still very little sharing of information among retailers and law enforcement. But there is a new effort to share data that will hopefully yield some results.
An enhanced version of the Law Enforcement Retail Partnership Network (LERPnet), a secure national database that allows retailers to share information to combat ORC, is launching this spring. The ISO Crime Analytics unit of Verisk Analytics is developing and will manage the new system.
The upgraded system, called LERPnet2.0, will provide a platform for retailers to report, share and analyze their retail theft and critical incident data. It is designed to be the national standard for sharing retail crime information in a secure and confidential manner, according to the officials involved.
They say that incident details may be shared with law enforcement while retailers take advantage the many system tools including: automated alerts and recent activity notifications; intelligent link-analysis; investigation collaboration tools; full text search capability; and advanced system reporting. With LERPnet2.0, retailers and law enforcement will be able to fight back against illegal activity including organized retail crime, burglaries, robberies, counterfeiting, and online auction fraud.
The original LERPnet, which was created in 2007, was a collaboration of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), National Retail Federation (NRF) and Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the FBI. There are high hopes for this updated version.
“LERPnet has demonstrated the potential for retailers and law enforcement to identify and respond to a variety of theft patterns while making connections between events not easily identified by a single retailer, says Rhett Asher, vice president of industry relations for FMI. “LERPnet 2.0 will allow retailers and law enforcement to fully realize this potential.”
Bad news for criminals. Hopefully good news for grocers and their customers. Retailers need to get on board and help populate this database with information that will help to stop ORC.