How COVID-19 Has Impacted Organized Retail Crime

An unfortunate side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the creation of an environment where organized retail crime is thriving at record levels. While the rest of us abide by public health guidelines, stay home and stay distant, retail crime is becoming more brazen and it should provide a wake-up call to any store manager thinking about increasing their security services.

The figures released in the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) latest study show the extent of the problem retailers are dealing with. Organized retail crime activity increased 68 percent in a year-on-year comparison, with retailers shouldering an average loss of over $700,000 per $1 billion in sales. This increase represents the fifth year in a row stores have suffered a loss above the $700,000 mark. 

Organized Retail Crime

Preparing for Increased Security Risk

And it isn’t just theft. Savvy criminals are engaging in low-risk, high-margin endeavors such as fraud, cyber fraud and counterfeiting, guessing correctly that attention is diverted towards other areas during the pandemic. COVID-19 saw many police forces across North America re-allocating resources away from theft, and moving them toward support for public health measures. This has increased risk, while opening up a space for organized retail crime to move into.

Unfortunately, history has shown us that traumatic events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, usually precede an increase in crime. According to US court statistics, the 2008 financial crisis led to a 30 per cent increase in retail crime. Rewind further and 9/11 led to a 16 per cent increase in shoplifting.

With these figures in mind, how can businesses protect themselves?

Security Guards with Frontline Experience

Throughout the pandemic, Blackbird Security has provided frontline security guards and security services to our national retail partners such as Sephora, Best Buy and MEC. In each of these locations our loss prevention specialists and tactical uniform security guards secured the premises, prevented theft, kept staff safe, and assisted with enforcing public health measures.

All of our loss prevention officers have full Advanced Security Training certification and are trained and licenced to make arrests when necessary. We combine technology to track loss and incident data for our clients, document any frequent offenders and compile information to be able to prosecute organized crime members. 

If you’re interested in hearing why Blackbird Security is the best security company to protect your business from crime, we’d love to hear from you. We offer the following range of services to clients across Western and Central Canada:

Contact Us and let’s discuss your unique needs. We operate in most Canadian cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. 

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