Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Organized Retail Crime

The FBI estimates that retailers nation-wide lose $30 billion annually due to organized retail crime. Retail sales are a major portion of Overland Park's economy. Therefore, the economic welfare of the City and it's citizens is closely related to the health of the local retail sector. Large losses can endanger an employer's viability, as well as limit its ability to expand and/or hire new employees. An unhealthy retail sector can cause retailers to reconsider locating in Overland Park.

Organized retail crime, in essence, is professional thieves known as "boosters" who steal from retail environments. These thieves often work for others who direct their efforts, often down to exactly what and how much to steal. Items stolen usually end up for sale at flea markets or online auction sites. Items aren't stolen for use by the thieves, but rather for their marketability and ease of liquidation.

Given the importance of a healthy retail sector, the Overland Park Police Department has established an Organized Retail Crime function within its Financial Crimes Unit. Detectives assigned to investigate organized retail crime specifically target individuals who fit the above description.

Our Organized Retail Crime detectives work closely with retailers, other law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. Regular meetings take place involving representatives of these stakeholders to discuss trends, share information, training, and apprehensions.

Through these efforts, we intend to protect the health of the retail sector by establishing and maintaining robust coalitions, conducting aggressive investigations and prosecutions, and creating an environment that discourages organized retail crime.