Government Affairs

Organized Retail Crime

Interest remains strong in the supermarket industry for enactment of legislation that would make organized retail crime (ORC) a federal felony.  FMI and its retail coalition partners continue to work with lawmakers to achieve a legislative solution to this growing security concern for the retail industry and our customers.  FMI strongly supports legislation that would make ORC a federal offense in an effort to deter this type of criminal activity.

What is ORC?
Organized retail crime (ORC) is a growing problem throughout the United States, affecting a wide range of retail establishments including supermarkets, chain drug stores, independent pharmacies, mass merchandisers and convenience stores.  It has become an increasingly pressing security problem confronting retailers and suppliers, and now accounts for over an estimated $30 billion in losses at store level annually according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) interstate theft task force.  ORC is separate and distinct from petty shoplifting in that it involves professional theft rings that move quickly from community to community and across state lines to pilfer large amounts of merchandise.

Targeted Products
ORC rings typically target everyday household commodities and consumer items, such as infant formula, OTC medications, diabetes test strips, razor blades and batteries that can be easily sold through fencing operations, flea markets, swap meets and shady store-fronts operations, as well as on internet auction sites. More recently, these sophisticated gangs have started to steal high end items including designer clothes, furs, consumer electronics and appliances.

Economic Impact
Consumers may be faced with higher prices for products as grocery stores attempt to cover their losses.  ORC theft has become so rampant in certain product categories, such as infant formula, certain supermarkets are taking the products off the shelves and placing them behind the counter or under lock and key.  In some cases, products are simply unavailable due to high pilferage rates which are a major inconvenience to shoppers.

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