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How to Protect Customers And Stores from Organized Retail Crime

Organized retail crime, or ORC, is the leading threat to the safety and success of retailers across the country. Organized retail crime describes targeted criminal theft attempts on brick-and-mortar stores that have become more frequent and violent in recent years. As the ORC rate continues to reach unprecedented levels, retailers must prioritize the safety of their employees and customers above all else.

While routine theft has always been a challenge retailers have had to deal with, these occurrences appear more serious and damaging than ever. A report from the National Retail Federation shows that retailers experienced a 26.5% increase in organized retail theft incidents in 2021. As many as eight in 10 retailers reported that the violence and aggression associated with these incidents increased in the past year. These incidents continue to grow by double digits year after year and have resulted in deaths and serious injuries.

Due to the rising rate of dangerous and potentially violent incidents, retailers will need to take steps to further enhance their stores’ safety and security.

Employee Training and Awareness

Well-trained employees are a retailer’s first line of defense against ORC. Retailers should invest in training programs that teach employees how to recognize suspicious behavior, handle uncomfortable confrontations, and appropriately respond to emergencies.

Teaching the frontline best practices to keep themselves and others safe during a potentially dangerous situation is critically important amid this concerning crime trend. Creating a culture of awareness and vigilance among employees will foster a safer shopping environment for everyone.

Communication is Key

While training and preparation are crucial in helping to prevent or resolve an ORC incident, employees also need to be able to communicate and respond in the moment. These incidents often happen quickly, and immediate response can help prevent theft or violence. Effective in-store communication systems allow employees to quickly alert security personnel or management when they spot suspicious activity or potential ORC perpetrators.

Furthermore, this allows the security or HQ teams the ability to talk employees through an ongoing situation—whether to remind them of company training procedures or alert them that the potential threat has been resolved. In-ear communication can help employees to feel supported and safe during these incidents.

Utilizing Security Alerts

Security alerts, whether automated or manual, offer stores another tool to ensure further safety. These alerts can come in many different forms—via security cameras, security tags, manually triggered by a store associate using a code word or hard button, and more. Security alerts ensure everyone in the store is aware of the ongoing situation and are the best way to ensure a timely response to ORC.

Also, early detection through security alerts can often deter ORC perpetrators from attempting a theft in the first place. When individuals with realize that they have been spotted or that security personnel are alerted, they may abandon their plans and leave the store. Knowing that a store has robust security systems that generate alerts can act as a future deterrent to many ORC groups. Retailers are less likely to be targeted when theft is easily detected and responded to.

Learn More About Theatro!

Theatro’s Mobile Communication Platform and dedicated AP, LP & Safety solution suite were built specifically with the needs of retailers and their frontline in mind. Theatro has the power to connect every employee, integrate with existing store security systems, and automatically trigger security alerts during an ORC incident.

Interested in learning more about how you can improve your loss prevention, asset protection, and in-store safety? Reach out to our sales team today—we’d love to show you how Theatro is helping organizations create a safer shopping environment than ever before! 

Connect with Theatro today to schedule a demo or learn more!