Retailers and NYPD join forces to fight crime

September 29, 2014

Several major retailers have joined forces with 100 companies and the NYPD to form an alliance that will be called the Metropolitan Organized Retail Crime Alliance. 

Several major retailers have joined forces with 100 companies and the NYPD to form an alliance that will be called the Metropolitan Organized Retail Crime Alliance, reported New York Daily News.

While the retailers that have joined the alliance are typically competitors – like Macy’s and JC Penny – in this unique instance they are teaming together to stop organized crime elements from committing theft in their stores.

Other retailers looking to decrease in-store crimes that have joined the alliance are: Rite Aid, Home Depot and Target. It was also rumored that Apple would soon join them in their efforts.

The sharing of information on patterns of crime
The objective of the Metropolitan Organized Retail Crime Alliance is to improve security in retail stores by sharing information on the criminal crews that perpetrate crimes and run various scams. Information that is ascertained through the sharing of information will be made accessible to the FBI as well as 50 other law enforcement agencies.

Head of the NYPD’s grand larceny analytical unit, Sgt. Tarik Sheppard, has high hopes for the alliance and believes it can make a big difference.

“If we can build this out by the end of the year to, let’s say, 400 retailers, we can really make a dent in the number of people who become victims,” said Sgt. Sheppard, according to the news source.

The retail crime alliance is modeled after a Los Angeles program, spawned in 2009, that made a positive difference in reducing the amount stolen by criminal organizations. It is estimated that $30 billion worth of stolen merchandise is sold into the black market each year, reported the news source.  

Sophisticated security systems working together in tandem
While many of the companies in New York City do have sophisticated security systems and surveillance in place, they have not previously shared information with other retailers. Companies are now aware that criminal groups stealing particular merchandise from one store are probably committing the same crime at other stores as well.

The first meeting of the alliance took place two weeks ago where information between participants was shared. Representatives from Rite Aid informed the group that they have alerted their customers of a scam involving Green Dot MoneyPak cards. Scammers were apparently calling victims and urging them to use prepaid debit cards to pay off fake bills – making the transactions difficult to trace. Another crime that was mentioned was the use of fake credit cards to buy over $100,000 worth of Enfamil baby formula from various wholesale outlets. The perpetrators were caught trying to sell the formula to the black market in China.

In a very competitive economic atmosphere, where market share is paramount, seeing retailers team together to fight for a common cause is admirable. Sometimes in a capitalistic arena, it is easy to forget that partnership can make as big a difference in profitability as competition.

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