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ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has tallied the results of its 2011 Crime Trends and Leading Practices Survey, a comprehensive look at the past year's trends in crimes against retailers, and the results are grim. Retail crime continues to grow, most significantly in the areas of shoplifting and pharmacy theft.
More than half of survey respondents reported an increase in the frequency with which organized rings committed shoplifting, and 41 percent saw an increase in shoplifting by individuals acting alone. Sixty-four percent of respondents reported an increase in theft of pharmaceutical products.
According to the survey, online marketplaces are still a preferred venue for the resale of stolen product. A majority of retailers -- 61 percent -- experienced a rise in the frequency with which stolen company merchandise was resold online, with none reporting a decline in the online sale of stolen goods. Retailers additionally noted that their stolen merchandise was resold at flea markets and storefront bodegas more often.
"With input from the largest retailers in America, the results provide keen insight into the state of crime in the retail industry," said Lisa LaBruno, vice president of loss prevention and legal affairs at Arlington, Va.-based RILA. "Data detailing how crime is trending and what deterrent strategies have worked for retailers will help retailers focus their resources and develop effective strategies for mitigating risk."
LaBruno added that the trade group was "disappointed, though not surprised" by the rising incidence of shoplifting by organized groups and lone individuals. "It's concerning that retailers continue to fight an uphill battle against the resale of stolen goods online, in flea markets and other venues," she noted. "As long as there are channels through which thieves can resell stolen goods, it will be difficult to stem the tide of organized retail crime (ORC). That's why it's so important that we continue to explore state and federal legislative solutions and to enhance partnerships with external stakeholders to find a solution to the growing problem of ORC."
As well as ORC, other areas spotlighted in the report include crimes committed by individual perpetrators, employee theft and fraud, pharmacy theft, flash mobs, retailers' legislative efforts, effective deterrence strategies, and the role of social networking in investigations.