According to the preliminary results of the National Retail Security Survey, retailers lost more $37 billion to theft last year.
The survey, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Florida with a funding grant from ADT Commercial, found that theft increased by nearly $4 billion from a total of $33.5 billion in 2009 to $37.1 billion in 2010. Retail theft in the survey included shoplifting, employee theft, administrative error and vendor fraud.
"It is possible this increase is due to the prevalence of organized retail crime (ORC) where items are stolen in quantity and then resold to consumers on the Internet or at flea markets," University of Florida criminologist and survey director Richard Hollinger, Ph.D., said in a statement. "The National Retail Federation just completed its own survey showing an increase in ORC activities with more than 95 percent of retailers saying they had been victims and almost 85 percent indicating that the problem had gotten worse over the last three years."
Employee theft was responsible for 43 percent ($16.2 billion) of total losses reported, followed by organized retail crime at almost 33 percent ($12.1 billion).