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Trade group overstated cost of organized retail crime

(NewsNation) — The National Retail Federation (NRF) stands by the fact that organized retail crime does take a major chunk of profits out of businesses big and small but says a number it cited in a recent report was incorrect.

The report stated that nearly half of all retail shrink resulted from organized retail crime, attributing the figure to a source that the NRF later learned was incorrect.

“We stand behind the widely understood fact that organized retail crime is a serious problem impacting retailers of all sizes and communities across our nation,” the NRF said in an official statement. “At the same time, we recognize the challenges the retail industry and law enforcement have with gathering and analyzing an accurate and agreed-upon set of data to measure the number of incidents in communities across the country.”

Last week, an undercover operation targeting retail theft in the Sacramento area resulted in 285 felony and misdemeanor arrests and tens of thousands of dollars of recovered items from chains like Walmart, Target and others.

The NRF’s latest industry survey does indicate that theft incidents are getting more violent, with eight out of 10 retailers reporting more violence and aggression in the past year.

One of the newest and starkest examples is the killing of a loss prevention employee last week at a Philadelphia Macy’s. Police say a thief stabbed two workers who tried to stop him, killing 27-year-old Eric Harrison. The suspect was arrested at a nearby train station.

Jurisdictions across the country are announcing new initiatives to manage and help prevent organized retail crime. In Washington, D.C., the mayor recently announced proposed legislation that would create a felony crime for anyone who directs organized retail theft.

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