Washington urged to get tough on stolen goods sold online

Law enf., retailers urge lawmakers to protect consumers

Today the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing, “The Rise in Organized Retail Crime and the Threat to Public Safety.” During the hearing, Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach testified that “almost all of the stolen products moved by the fences are sold online.” It’s more validation from the law enforcement community of what retailers have been ringing the alarm about for years – the ability for bad actors to quickly and easily sell stolen goods via online marketplaces is a key spoke in the organized retail crime wheel.

With the INFORM Consumers Act set to take effect June 27, 2023, the industry is hopeful strong enforcement will serve as the appropriate deterrent to organized retail theft and help keep consumers and workers safe.

Enforcing the INFORM Consumers Act

The Buy Safe America Coalition (BSAC), which represents a diverse group of responsible retailers, consumer groups, manufacturers, intellectual property advocates and law enforcement officials, today sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) supporting the strong enforcement of the INFORM Consumers Act. The letter notes,

 “Given the size of the problem, it should be no surprise that such a diverse group of industries and interests are singularly united in our belief that INFORM must be fully enforced by the FTC (and the state Attorneys General) to protect consumers and businesses from what has become a serious threat to consumers, honest businesses, and a fair and healthy marketplace.”

“Organized retail crime is not a victimless crime, and unfortunately, retail employees are too often confronted by an assailant carrying mace, a knife or a firearm,” said RILA Senior Executive Vice President Michael Hanson.  “Communities, families, and local businesses are the victims of these criminal actions. It’s important for policymakers to understand the violence that often accompanies organized theft and to help with solutions. The verbal and physical abuse from thieves who steal items in mass quantities and on a regular basis from stores need to be the focus of law enforcement to ensure the safety of retail employees and the communities they serve.

Prosecutors and Industry Partner

Transparency only helps if law enforcement uses it to bring high-impact offenders to justice. Bringing together prosecutors and retailers is essential to combatting organized retail crime and keeping our communities safe. RILA and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) announced a first-of-its-kind national partnership to facilitate information sharing and collaboration among the business community and law enforcement to identify criminal networks operating in communities.

Building on this partnership, RILA and NDAA recently announced a new pilot project to address the root drivers of habitual theft, violence, and other unlawful activity in and around retail establishments — mental health issues, substance use, homelessness, and other complex societal challenges. More on the Vibrant Communities Initiative here.
  • Organized Retail Crime
  • Public Policy
  • Asset Protection
  • Keeping Communities Safe

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