The security week that was: 10/01/10 (organized retail crime)

A weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession


The fight against ORC could finally get its day

We’ve been talking about organized retail crime (ORC) in this industry really since around 2003 or 2004. Those seemed to be the years that we first saw real public attention given to this problem of “booster” teams doing organized shoplifting. In the September 2004 issue of Security Technology & Design magazine (since renamed Security Technology Executive magazine), Liz Martinez explained the emergence of these ORC operations. While the core of this ORC methodology has been booster bags and team-style operations where spotters keep an eye out for store LP and intervening employees, ORC has even gone so far as organized tripping of store intrusion alarms to create a “false” alarm situation that can be followed up by a real break-in.

Well, there is finally a touch of good news in this area. The U.S. House approved a bill this week that would set up a special unit within the Department of Justice (presumably within the FBI). The passage of this bill was welcomed by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the National Retail Federation (NRF). This is, however, only one step in the process of setting up such a unit, and we often see bills that pass the House become bogged down in Senate committees. Also, I have to question whether $5 million would be enough to establish and fund this unit. That is the amount proposed for funding, and personally, I have my doubts as to whether that is enough to make this kind of unit effective at all. Finally, we have to be realistic; this is a new expense area in a time of a down economy, and any extra funding measures -- no matter how necessary -- aren’t particularly favorable when you’re aiming for re-election. Then again, almost every politician loves to be seen as “tough on crime”, so this might see less opposition and faster adoption. Finally, if ORC and loss prevention interests you, then you’d probably enjoy participating in our Retail Loss Prevention forums. Registration is free, and it’s a great way to share information among the LP community.

Should we verify before dispatch?
Quick poll on SIW needs your opinion

Should burglar alarms be verified before calling police for dispatch? That’s the question we wanted to ask of you, our readers. The poll is live on the site and will remain open for voting for at least another two weeks, so if you haven’t weighed in yet, please do so. Currently, with only about 30 respondents having checked in with a vote, we are overwhelmingly being told that alarms should be verified. In fact, at this totally unscientific point, it’s 70 percent saying our industry should verify alarms before calling for police dispatch. Of course, we haven’t heard from you yet, so please weigh in now with your vote. We think it’s an especially poignant and important question, and it’s pure coincidence that this is being asked right as the CSAA heads to its annual convention. There’s also a discussion developing in our “Dealer & Integrator Central” forum around this topic and about the distinction between nuisance alarms and false alarms.

No-cost methods for improving school security
With school budgets tight, school security expert Paul Timm shares tips that cost next to nothing

Budgets are tight no matter what sector you’re in, but especially in the education market. How tight are things? A year ago, Washington, D.C. public schools had to lay off 200 teachers just to meet budget. Plenty of other schools’ budgets are simply limping along thanks to infusions of federal aid to keep them afloat. At the same time, we’re still facing security threats in our nation’s schools, whether it’s bullying, vandalism, break-ins or even active shooter scenarios like the one at UT-Austin. To help schools improve security, SecurityInfoWatch.com is offering a webinar on Oct. 28, 2010, with Paul Timm, PSP. Timm, who is a featured speaker on school security at the ASIS 2010 Seminars in Dallas, will speak on low-cost and no-cost ways for schools to improve security. You’ll find more details on our School Security 101 webinar registration page.

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