Cook County, Motorola Solutions and J.C. Penney join forces to combat ORC

Motorola Solutions is combining its public safety and retail technology to assist the Cook County Regional Organized Crime (CCROC) task force in ongoing efforts to combat organized crime, including retail theft. The National Retail Federation estimates businesses are losing up to $30 billion each year to organized retail crime.

CCROC is a task force of law enforcement and retail partners formed by the State’s Attorney’s Office in 2010 to battle the escalating crimes of organized retail theft and fencing in the Chicago metropolitan area. CCROC is unveiling a new strategic operations training center, which will serve as the main crime information hub for the task force.

“Here in Cook County we have been working in unprecedented ways to increase the investigation and prosecution of organized retail theft and this new operations center is going to provide us with an extraordinary opportunity to continue to bridge the gap between law enforcement and retailers. Thanks to the generous commitment of our retail partners, we are a model for the nation in battling this type of crime that has such a menacing impact on the average consumer,” says Anita Alvarez, Cook County’s State’s Attorney.

Organized Criminal Enterprises include groups, gangs and sometimes individuals who are engaged in all types financial crimes including organized retail crime, credit card fraud, bank fraud, identity theft, intellectual property crimes, and cargo theft. Obtaining retail merchandise through both theft and fraud in substantial quantities is all a part of a criminal enterprise.

These crime rings generally consist of "boosters" - who methodically steal merchandise from retail stores - and fence operators who convert the product to cash or drugs as part of the criminal enterprise. Sophisticated criminals have even found ways to switch UPC bar codes on merchandise so they ring up differently at checkout, commonly called "ticket switching." Others use stolen or cloned credit cards to obtain merchandise or produce fictitious receipts to return products back to retail stores.

JCPenney is donating the 5,500 square-foot facility located in the North Riverside, Ill. Mall, which will house law enforcement offices for various police departments, government agencies and retailers for the purpose of hands-on training and collaboration.

“We’re proud to be a founding partner of the CCROC task force, and we’re pleased to donate space for the operations training center. The center is an integral tool in derailing organized crime, and allows all participants to collect and share information like never before,” adds Stan Welch, vice president, JCPenney Loss Prevention.

The center will utilize technology from Motorola’s Real-Time Crime Center solution, which was introduced earlier this year, to bring together streaming video, incident and criminal complaints, access to arrest records, photographs, multi-media inputs and more. All this data – which currently resides in separate databases – can be integrated together by CCROC to provide crime solving intelligence in seconds instead of hours or even days as done today.

The Real-Time Crime Center solution correlates the data into intelligence to help curb crime as it happens, aid in longer-term investigations and potentially increase both arrest and prosecution rates. Situational awareness made available with Motorola’s Real-Time Crime Center solution is made actionable with the integration of a radio console to enable real-time direct voice communications with officers in the field and real-time video streaming to a vehicle or handheld device over existing carrier or private wireless networks.

“The rise of organized crime is finding its way into retail settings and expanding into financial exploitation of customers and consumers. The integration of Motorola’s Real-Time Crime Center solution in the CCROC initiative demonstrates how public/private partnerships can help combat this problem,” adds Greg Billings, vice president of Motorola Solution Sales and Professional Services

Stolen merchandise such as razors, alcohol, baby formula or cologne is typically “fenced” through brick and mortar businesses or online. Shutting down these operations is often a time-consuming and difficult process. With the help of the Real-Time Crime Center solution, retailers and law enforcement officers can work together quickly and easily to apprehend the “boosters” who steal from the stores as well as identify and shut down large fencing organizations and criminal enterprises.

Some of the key capabilities of this new operations center includes:

• Motorola’s Real-Time Crime Center solution allows law enforcement officers to approach an incident armed with more operational intelligence than ever before. Inputs from multiple data sources such as video, sensors, alarms, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and records are unified to deliver one operational view.

• The Real-Time Crime Center solution helps increase situational awareness and direct deployment of resources. Analysts at the center can see calls coming in and pull up video images from the scene immediately. As officers are responding, video footage and still images can be sent to their vehicles providing a description of the suspects and potential whereabouts. This speeds response time and gives officers a head start before they arrive on scene.

• With the Real-Time Crime Center solution, CCROC will be able to expediently capture and provide field officers and investigators with instant, comprehensive information to help identify suspects, crime patterns and prevent emerging crime. Analysts can obtain substantial information on suspects, including pictures, addresses and other identifiers to provide quicker apprehension, arrest and prevention of other crimes by these offenders.

• CCROC’S purpose is to provide a communication and operational structure to reduce organized crime. Traditionally, law enforcement and retail organizations have worked independently of each other. The Real-Time Crime Center solution enables CCROC to work closely with retailers on a common goal which positively affects the outcome of investigations, the community and potentially saves retailers money.

• CCROC members at-large include multiple police agencies throughout Illinois, national retailers and banks. The organization’s goal is to add full-time analysts to improve collaboration and share appropriate intelligence among all jurisdictions, retailers and financial institutions.

• The strategic operations training center is located within a private space at the North Riverside, Ill. Mall JCPenney location. JCPenney donated the previously unused space for the project, making it possible to house pivotal crime information in one central location.