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How Big is the Problem?

Retailers are reporting organized retail crime (ORC) has become more troublesome than ever before. Of the 125 retail companies surveyed for NRF's eighth annual Organized Retail Crime Survey, a record-setting (96.0%) say their company has been the victim of organized retail crime in the past year, up from 94.5 percent last year, and another 87.7 percent say ORC activity in the United States. has grown over the past three years.

Violence and gateway crimes are increasing and remain a problem!  The survey also indicates a growing trend in the level of violence retailers see when organized criminal gangs are apprehended (15% vs. 13% in 2011). Retailers grappling with these violent acts also report that they believe more ORC offenders are engaged in drug activity. Nearly half (49%) of respondents estimate drugs and drug activity are linked to organized retail crime incidents.
 National Retail Federation 2012 Survey

The ASIS Foundation released a report on ORC that cited estimates that organized retail theft costs anywhere between $31 billion and $50 billion annually. American Society for Industrial Security 2011

The Response

Partnerships between law enforcement and retail investigators have formed to combat the problem.  These Alliances share cross jurisdictional information to identify, disrupt, and apprehend Organized Retail Crime (ORC) crews.

Retailer and Merchant Liability Protection in Washington State

Merchants and other parties who create a database of individuals who have been apprehended in the process of committing a property crime, assessed a civil fine or penalty for committing a property crime or convicted of a property crime are not subject to civil fines or penalties for sharing information from the database with other merchants, law enforcement officials or legal professionals. Per RCW 4.24.340 The purpose of RCW 4.24.500 through 4.24.520 is to protect individuals who make good-faith reports to appropriate governmental bodies.

Revised Code of Washington protection laws to reference: RCW 4.24.220, RCW 4.24.230, RCW 4.24.340, RCW 4.24.350, RCW 4.24.500, RCW 4.24.520. 

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 In The News
Legislation Addressing 2015 State v Larson Supreme Court Decision
Theft with Special Circumstances
2/15/18 4:16 PM
Thanks to the hard work of WSORCA members a revision to RCW 9A.56.360 has been passed into law, again allowing more flexibility in charging for Theft with Special Circumstances. [More]