Crime in stores has been going up in the U.S., so much so that some big stores have had to close. A new study has found that organized retail crime has hit some U.S. cities harder than others. One of these cities is in Florida.
The National Retail Federation (NRF), which claims to be the biggest retail trade association in the world, has just released the 2023 Retail Security Survey. The study includes opinions from 177 retail brands, which together made up more than 97,000 stores across the U.S. and were responsible for $1.6 trillion in annual retail sales in 2022.
Overall, retailers who took part in the study said that inventory loss, also known as “shrink,” happened at an average rate of 1.6% last year, which equaled $112.1 billion in losses. That’s more than the 1.4% that was seen last year. 65% of the loss came from theft from outside the store, including items taken during planned shoplifting events.
For the 2023 study, the NRF said that organized retail crime is any theft or fraud that is done with the goal of making money by selling illegally obtained goods, cash, cargo, or cash equivalents. The locations where retail theft was most prevalent in 2017 according to the NRF’s analysis of reported losses of inventory were:
- Los Angeles, California
- Oakland/San Francisco, California
- Houston, Texas
- New York City, New York
- Seattle, Washington
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Sacramento, California and Chicago, Illinois (tied)
- Denver, Colorado; Miami, Florida; and Albuquerque, New Mexico
Since it passed New York City in 2018, this is the fifth year in a row that Los Angeles has been at the top of the list. “Violence, theft, and crime in stores are still having an unprecedented effect on the retail industry.” The major brands and big cities are not the only places these crimes have an impact, the NRF said on its website. “Every day, news stories show that these problems affect all types of stores, no matter where they are located or what size they are.”
The NRF said it “passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies, and ideas that help retail thrive.” They hope that the theft study will give members a lot of chances to do research, develop ideas, and work together, which will lead to new ways to stop theft and crime.
Late last year, Congress passed a bill called the INFORM ACT. Its goal is to stop the sale of fake and dangerous goods by requiring online marketplaces to check all kinds of information about sellers who make at least 200 sales and earn at least $5,000 a year. This includes their bank account, tax ID, and contact information.