A majority of the asset protection managers (APMs) at leading retailers across the nation reported that there’s been an increase in organized retail crime since March of last year, according to a new survey conducted by the Retail Industry Leaders Association on behalf of the Buy Safe America Coalition.
APMs are responsible for preventing financial loss from theft and fraud within a company, a position that has become increasingly important given the growing problem of organized retail crime in recent years, and this year, as more people shop online. Some of the largest retail crime ring busts have happened over the past year, including one in the San Francisco Bay area that recovered $8 million in stolen merchandise from retailers including CVS, Target and Walgreens.
During a year when brick and mortar stores are already suffering due to closures and other restrictions because of COVID-19, 80 percent of the APMs surveyed also believe that organized retail crime will only get worse next year. This is especially concerning when accounting for the human impact of this criminal activity with employees being verbally threatened or physically assaulted.
"Retailers commit an incredible amount of resources to keep stores safe for employees and customers. But combating the growing problem of organized retail crime has been tremendously challenging, particularly as criminals become more brazen and sophisticated in their operations and exploit online marketplaces to sell stolen goods."
- Senior Executive Vice President, Retail Operations
- Washington, DC
Summary of key findings include:
- Nearly 67 percent of surveyed asset protection managers reported that there’s been a moderate to considerable increase in organized retail crime since March of last year.
- 80 percent of asset protection managers reported that they believe organized retail crime will get worse in 2021.
- Organized retail crime puts employees in harms way and can often times lead to verbal threats and physical assault. Asset protection managers reported that these incidents have occurred this past year in their brick-and-mortar stores:
- Over 86 percent said that an organized retail criminal has verbally threatened an associate with bodily harm.
- Nearly 76 percent reported that an organized retail criminal has physically assaulted an associate (e.g. punched, kicked, etc.).
- Over 40 percent of APMs said that an organized retail criminal has actually used a weapon to harm an associate.
- Nearly 76 percent surveyed said that a criminal has threatened the use of a weapon against an associate.