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A Suspicious Mind: 5 Ways to Deter Theft


Since writing a story about organized retail crime (OCR), I’m suspicious of everyone I see at the supermarket.

Could the seeming innocent young mom placing baby food in her cart really be signaling her partner in crime that the time is right to clear the shelf of Similac?

What about that woman in Aisle 5? In the past, I may have admired her designer handbag. Today I wonder if it’s a foil-lined “booster bag” designed to deactivate product security tags.

How about that man in the car in the parking lot? Is he really waiting for his wife to return with a gallon of milk, or is he the getaway driver?

Despite my exaggeration, these and other criminal activities are actually happening around the country as organized crime rings deplete the shelves of formula, cigarettes, energy drinks, liquor, allergy medicine, diabetic testing strips and other expensive items.

Nine in 10 retailers say they have been victims of ORC in the past 12 months, and more retailers say the activity is on the rise, according to National Retail Federation’s 2012 ORC survey.

But retailers are fighting back. Following are five ways to deter ORC incidents:

  1. Remove Product from the Shelf

    Some retailers merchandise razors, formula and other high-theft items behind the customer service counter or in locked displays.

  2. Surveillance Monitors

    Surveillance cameras are nothing new at retail, but some retailers are now installing monitors near high-theft items so that shoppers see themselves and know they’re being watched.

  3. Security Tag

    Magnetic strips affixed to product packaging will set off an alarm if the product is illegally removed from the store.

  4. Legislative Changes

    Retailers are working with lawmakers to pass legislation to define ORC as a federal crime, which provides tougher sentences and more resources to law enforcement officials.

  5. Training

    Some companies hold training programs to help retail employees identify and understand the economic effect of ORC.

Read Related Story: Retailers Focus on Theft Prevention

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Nickfrans (not verified)
on Sep 4, 2014

It is shocking to know about the reports of National Retail Federation’s 2012 ORC survey. The theft inside the supermarket is increasing day by day. Even though surveillance monitors are common in supermarkets they are not able to stop theft completely.

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Don Cuppett

Don Cuppett Jr. is content production director for Supermarket News, a Penton Media publication.

Liz Webber

Liz Webber is Engagement Director / Fresh Market Editor at Supermarket News. She covers fresh foods for the magazine and creates multimedia, blog posts and other content for the website. She joined...
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