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Combating Organized Retail Theft

Organized retail theft rates have significantly spiked and stolen goods are passed off as legitimate merchandise to be sold in online.

Featured report

Crime continues to be a major problem for businesses large and small across the country. Federal, state, and local officials have pursued anti-crime efforts but further action is needed. Here are the Chamber's policy recommendations.

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On the front line

"Like most areas, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the times and frequency customers visit our shop, which has impacted our operations. We’ve also seen a rise in crime, both stealing and property damage at our shop and in the neighborhood, as well as an increase in trash, abandoned personal belongings, drug paraphernalia, and human waste in the areas around our shop."

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Organized Retail Crime on the Rise

Communities and businesses large and small across the United States are facing a significant increase in retail theft and organized retail crime that requires the swift response of policymakers.

Read our letter to Congress

What is organized retail theft and why does it matter?

  • $700 thousand
    Organized retail crime cost stores an average of over $700,000 per $1 billion in sales in 2020--up more than 50% in the last five years.
  • 54% of small businesses
    54% of small business owners experienced an increase in shoplifting in 2021

Feature story

Highlighting the Serious Impact of Criminal Organizations on American Business and Society

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Rising Retail Theft: Here’s What Business Owners Need to Know

Communities and businesses large and small across the United States are facing a significant increase in retail theft and organized retail crime. Here's what policymakers should do.

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What's been done?

  • Congress passed the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness Online (INFORM) Consumers Act to require disclosure of high-volume third-party sellers in online marketplaces and establish transparency to minimize the coordinated exploitation of online marketplaces
  • The federal government must now enforce these changes and provide support to states and local prosecutors.

Congress and the states must act to stop organized retail theft

  • States should take action to prosecute organized retail theft by passing legislation to enable the aggregation and prosecution of offenses across state lines, and by establishing statewide task forces to take down organized retail theft rings.
  • States need to more clearly define the crime “organized retail theft” to provide prosecutors with the tools to target organized theft rings, which differ greatly from the average shoplifter.
  • States also need to adjust the thresholds for the value of goods stolen to trigger a felony charge to prevent thieves from avoiding prosecution and heavier charges. States can further address this through passing legislation allowing for the aggregation of a pattern of organized thefts across multiple jurisdictions over a period of time.

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