Organized retail theft is on the rise nationally, says a National Retail Federation survey reported by the Chicago Tribune. Chicago ranked among the top 10 cities in which rings of thieves steal large quantities of goods, such as designer jeans and small appliances. The goods are sold online or at such locations as flea markets or sometimes by legitimate small businesses. Other cities on the list include New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, and the Baltimore/Washington area.
The number of retailers reporting being victims of organized retail crime has been climbing in the eight years the federation has been conducting the survey, said Rich Mellor, vice president of loss prevention. In 2010, 89 percent of retailers were affected, he said; this year, it was 96 percent. Losses are estimated at $15 billion to $30 billion each year. “Criminals have become more desperate and brazen in their efforts, stopping at nothing to get their hands on large quantities of merchandise,” Mellor said.