NC Retail Merchants Association and Local Law Enforcement Announce Formation
Of the Carolinas Organized Retail Crime Alliance
Raleigh, NC (February 4, 2015) – Retail theft schemes are increasing in the Carolinas and they’re becoming more sophisticated. According to local law enforcement, current retail theft goes far beyond shoplifting, involving complex schemes and organized efforts by people who convert illegally obtained merchandise or cash into financial gain by theft or fraud. In response, the NC Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA) and local law enforcement agencies announced earlier today at a press conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, the formation of the Carolinas Organized Retail Crime Alliance (CORCA), a coalition of law enforcement and retail loss prevention professionals in North and South Carolina aimed at combating the rise of retail theft crime.
“Organized retail crime costs the retail industry nearly $30 billion annually in the United States,” said NCRMA President Andy Ellen. “These losses drive up costs for retailers which then get passed along to consumers. The new CORCA Alliance is vitally needed to provide important education and to serve as a resource link for retailers and law enforcement in the effort to combat this crime.”
“Return fraud and identity theft/credit card fraud are both prevalent in Organized Retail Crime (ORC) of which many are unaware,” said Detective Scott Womack with the Raleigh Police Department. “This costs the retail industry tremendous losses, victimizes the customer, and results in higher pricing for all.”
Many ORC offenders are career criminals with a history of violence. ORC activities often fuel other criminal activities such as drug abuse, criminal street gang activity and even terrorism. Though ORC is nothing new, it continues to evolve as a type of crime that impacts every area of our state and nation.”
The CORCA Alliance plans to promote a retail theft database CORCA.org, developed in partnership with Alan Buck, Bed, Bath and Beyond’s area loss prevention manager, and Detective Shawn Blee with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Created nearly two years ago to track theft and criminal activity impacting businesses on a real-time basis, the site currently has 510 retail and law enforcement users who are currently posting valuable information about crimes and criminals and helping to prevent others from being victimized.
CORCA plans to work with the retail industry and law enforcement agencies in the Carolinas to spread the word about the database and encourage new users.
“The Alliance will help us build on the success that CORCA.org has achieved and help us proactively combat the threat of organized retail crime in the Carolinas,” said Womack. “Since the launch of the database website, we’ve seen an increase in retailer-to-retailer communications and an increased focus on collaboration between retailers and law enforcement,” said Womack.
“With Organized Retail Crime accounting for more than double that of other property crimes such as robbery, larceny, burglary and auto thefts combined, the gravity of the losses attributed to ORC operations have grown significantly,” said Ellen. “The time is now to work together to put an end to this type of organized crime.”
The NC Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA) and its foundation, the Retail Consumer Alliance Foundation (RCA) have assumed financial responsibility, daily oversight and management of the CORCA.org website which will allow NCRMA to introduce the website to the retail industry for statewide use. The Carolinas Organized Retail Crime Alliance will provide a much needed sustainable network to further a mission to provide consumer education and awareness around the issues associated with retail crime; will provide educational resources to industry loss prevention and law enforcement; and will work toward a goal of providing scholarships within this field.
The Alliance is membership based with all law enforcement participation free of charge. It will meet quarterly to provide insight and oversight of CORCA.org, plan an Annual Convention, and provide education. NCRMA’s professional staff will provide oversight of all CORCA operations, meeting preparations, planning, and accounting.
Additional Information about CORCA initiatives:
- www.CORCA.org: The website focuses primarily on retail crime information-sharing across North and South Carolina. It is a free, secure site for retailers and law enforcement and properly vetted by administration and law enforcement partners. Regional meetings and other important information is shared through the website as well. For information on how to sign up contact Jessica Edwin, CORCA Program Manager, at (919) 832-0811.
- Training/Education: Retailers and law enforcement officers alike have voiced a need for training and education programs focused on Organized Retail Crime. The Alliance will partner with various agencies and networks that can offer education in the Carolinas.
- Networking: The Alliance will offer face-to-face networking opportunities via quarterly meetings, continuing education, training opportunities, and an annual conference.
- Carolinas Organized Retail Crime Alliance Conference: CORCA will hold an annual conference beginning in 2016 (date and location to-be-determined). This will be an opportunity for law enforcement and retail loss prevention professionals to network, gain valuable education, and learn about important new products through loss prevention vendors.
- Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award: CORCA will present an annual Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, to highlight North and South Carolina’s outstanding officers working to combat organized retail crime.
Scholarships: CORCA’s goal is to offer law enforcement scholarships from conference revenues.
For retailers and law enforcement wanting more information on the new organization contact NCRMA at (919) 832-0811.
About Carolinas Organized Retail Crime Alliance (CORCA)
The Carolinas Organized Retail Crime Alliance (CORCA) is a coalition of retail businesses and law enforcement agencies working to reduce organized retail crime activity in the Carolinas. CORCA promotes communication and education that supports the use of the Carolina’s crime database, recently developed through a partnership with Bed, Bath and Beyond’s loss prevention management and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. CORCA is a division of the Retail Consumer Alliance Foundation in Raleigh, NC.
About the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association is a non-profit trade association that was founded in 1902 to represent the retail industry before the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina regulatory agencies and the United States Congress and continues to be the voice of the retail industry in North Carolina. Loss prevention and organized retail crime has long been a priority for NCRMA. NCRMA has a Retail Security Council within its membership and over the years, NCRMA’s lobbying efforts gained passage of legislation related to worthless checks, flea markets, habitual felons, identity theft and an omnibus ORC package of laws in 2007.
About the Retail Consumer Alliance Foundation
The Retail Consumer Alliance (RCA) was organized in 2008 to foster stronger community partnerships between consumers and the retail industry. RCA currently funds an annual educational scholarship program and provides annual contributions to the Feeding America Food Banks for North and South Carolina.