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National Retail Federation Backs House Legislation to Fight Organized Retail Crime

8 in 10 surveyed retailers reported violence, aggression associated with such incidents rose in last year
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Organized retail crime remains a persistent threat to the retail industry, accounting for more than $94.5 billion in losses in 2021, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said recently in response to the U.S. House of Representatives introducing the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023.

“These sophisticated crimes permeate the entire retail ecosystem, impacting consumers, employees and communities nationwide,” said David French, senior vice president of government relations for the federation.

In late January, a bill was introduced that targets the rise in flash mob robberies and intricate retail theft schemes sweeping the nation, according to the office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who is sponsoring the bill with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada). The bill sets up a coordinated multi-agency response and creates tools to fight organized retail theft (ORC) trends.

“While retailers remain vigilant in the fight against ORC, federal support like the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023 is needed to level the playing field with additional resources and coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” French said.

A cover report this month from CSP magazine examined violent crime at U.S. convenience stores, which has doubled over the last five years.

Among the findings in the CSP report, from the Buy Safe America Coalition:

  • 86.2% of retailers said an organized retail crime subject verbally threatened an associate.
  • 75.9% of retailers said an organized retail crime subject physically assaulted an associate.
  • 41% of retailers said an organized retail crime subject used a weapon to harm an associate.

The NRF said that eight in 10 surveyed retailers reported violence and aggression associated with organized retail crime incidents increased in the last year.

Other statistics in the CSP report:

  • The rate of death due to work-related violence in c-stores is 14 times that of the private industry overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Robberies at U.S. c-stores account for 6.6% of the national total, according to the FBI.
  • Robberies at U.S. gas stations account for 3.2% of the national total, according to the FBI.

“We commend Representatives Ken Buck (R-Colorado), Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), Susie Lee (D-Nevada) and Dina Titus, (D-Nevada) for their leadership to move this important legislation one step closer to becoming law,” French said.

This legislation is the House companion to S.140, introduced by Grassley and Masto.

Read CSP’s crime report here.

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