Following the successful launch of the Colorado Organized Retail Crime Alliance in April, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, signed State Rep. Mark Barker’s House Bill 1304 into law adopting, as he puts it, measures to prevent organized retail crime.
Organized Retail Crime (ORC) is defined as the theft or fraud activity conducted with the intent to convert illegally obtained merchandise, cargo, cash, or cash equivalent into financial gain (not for personal use), typically through their online or offline resale. ORC typically involves a criminal enterprise that organizes large-scale thefts from a number of retail stores and employs a fencing operation to sell the illegally-obtained goods for financial gain. It should be distinguished from “shoplifting”, which is typically a retail theft by a single individual of small number of goods for personal use. And as NRF’s just-released 2012 Organized Retail Survey found, a record 96 percent of retailers said their company was a victim of organized retail crime in the past year – proving that no retailer is immune to ORC.
The new law gives law enforcement officials and state prosecutors more tools to combat organized retail crime by punishing criminals for triggering fire alarms and using a booster bag in the commission of a theft. State officials are hoping the law also serves as a deterrent to would-be criminals in the state.
The measure comes after months of working with Colorado retailers, loss prevention specialists, law enforcement and prosecutors across the state. Chris Howes from the Colorado Retail Council, John Lites from Safeway and many others have been driving this issue and I expect we will see many more wins from the team there.