Organized Retail Crime Counter Measures Reviewed

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jul 05, 2012

'Organized Retail Crime', or ORC, makes many retailers nervous. Unlike traditional shoplifting, ORC is earmarked by being organized and widespread. What equipment can be used to combat this problem? In this note, we examine how security systems and equipment are deployed to mitigate the risk.

Widespread Problem

With some estimates suggesting ORC costs retailers $30 billion dollars yearly, many retail loss prevention departments are scrambling to address the problem. ORC theft has been reported in all retail channels, from the theft of common household detergents [link no longer available], to luxury perfumes and cosmetics. The video below gives several examples of ORC crimes, including $7,000 worth of handbags, and gives a good overview of the problem:

The question for many in security: "What tools can be applied to mitigate ORC risk?" In the section that follows, we list some of the common solutions many retailers employ to combat the ORC threat.

Solutions Overview

Booster bag detection: One of the most common 'exploitation' methods of ORC theft is the use of 'booster bags' - shopping bags lined with foil - intended to interfere with the detection abilities of EAS systems. Several new sensors types are designed to specifically detect the presence of 'booster bags' when they enter or leave a retail location. While possessing a 'booster bag' may not be criminal, certainly the detecting the presence of such an item is a powerful deterrent to prospective loss. Vendors like Alert MetalGuard [link no longer available]sell 'add on' booster bag detection pedestals, used in conjunction with existing EAS systems, to alert on the presence of these items in a retail store.

 

 

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

 

'Benefit Denial' EAS: The general concept behind 'benefit denial' tags are that if an item is stolen and the tag not properly removed, the tag itself destructs, impacting the appearance or utility of the product. The most common example of this countermeasure are 'dye packs' or 'ink tags' that rupture and indelibly stain stolen product. The brutal reality behind this protection is when product is damaged, it cannot be resold or exchanged as new. Use of 'benefit denial' EAS do not come without risk of accidental discharge, and tag cost is several times more expensive that 'standard' EAS tags. However, the method is very effective at protecting 'softlines' merchandise and other products sold without substantial packaging that might inhibit the effectiveness of the tag.

 

Secured Product Dispensers: An effective, but restrictive method of protecting product from theft is to keep it locked in protective showcases. 'Dispensing systems' are used to select stock items one at a time, and are often automated and networked to some degree to log stored product inventory. Small, highly valuable products like pharmaceuticals, electronics, and cosmetics are best suited to this type of protection - while product is indeed kept secure, it also takes more time and requires deliberation on part of the honest shopper. As a result, the use of this countermeasure should be carefully weigh the savings in reducing product loss against the overall loss in gross sales due to inconvenience.

 

Data Analyics: Not to be confused with video analytics, data analytic services featuring 'Receipt Verification/Return Authorization' modules can be used to prevent from converting stolen goods back into cash. Everytime a transaction is generated, it is uniquely identified and stored. Commonly, this record is identified via a barcode on the bottom of a reciept. That data record not only can be used to track the goods sold, it can also be used to verify purchase of an item being returned. When those journal entries are combined into a single dataset, it can be used to verify personal purchasing records of an item, or how many of a certain item was sold by a retailer. In the case of 'exchange fraud', thieves often return stolen merchandise for a cash exchange. Using data analytics can help pinpoint the exact source of when an item was purchased, and therefore validate a cash return. Vendors like Siras [link no longer available] and The Retail Equation [link no longer available] are specialty vendors of these analytics.

 

Surveillance Video: The power of video surveillance cannot be overlooked as a fundamental countermeasure to ORC. While the pitfals of poor quality and poorly executed video surveillance in retail are commonplace, effective use of HD resolution images cannot be overstanded. Quality images and videoclips can easily and effectively shared in 'BOLO', or 'Be On the LookOut' reports shared with local security and retailers. Simply being able to recognize suspects and apply human LP resources to ORC threats are a hugely significant, if not the most significant, protection against the threat. Products like 3VR's CrimeDex and LERPnet can also be used in conjunction with local video surveillance to verify and validate ORC threats.

Video Analytics: When dealing with the ORC problem, video analytics used alone have limited value. Because the ORC problem is not simply observable behavior, but because it is a 'nested' type of theft or fraud perpetuated on many levels, video analytics alone are not an effective defense. For example, many video analytics providers cite the use of 'dwell time' as an important indicator of ORC risk, because it can preclude theft planning. In reality, this type of analytic would produce so many false positive alerts on 'casual shoppers' for a typical retailer, it would quickly be discarded as ineffective. In addition, many video analytics providers claim impossible results of face recognition, but these claims are proven time after time to be overstated used in real-world production surveillance systems. Rather, the application of video analytics to combat ORC is, at best, used in conjuction with the methods mentioned above.

 

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

UK Fines Security Firms For Illegal Direct Marketing on Jan 16, 2019
Two UK security firms have paid over $200,000 in fines for illegally making hundreds of thousands of calls to people registered on a government...
How China's Pay By Facial Recognition Works on Apr 02, 2019
Many social media posts have variously celebrated or warned about the growing use of facial recognition for payments in China. An example of one...
Hikvision AI Problems Criticized By Chinese Publication on Apr 09, 2019
Hikvision's facial recognition works poorly, causes delays and worsens learning, according to a new investigation by one of China's leading...
China Subway Facial Recognition System Examined on Jun 24, 2019
A China city of 6+ million people has installed facial recognition-enabled gates in subways, allowing commuters to enter stations by simply showing...
GDPR / ICO Complaint Filed Against Dahua on Jun 27, 2019
IPVM has filed a GDPR complaint against Dahua UK's facial recognition conducted at their booth during this year's IFSEC show. In this post, we...
Suprema Biometric Mass Leak Examined on Aug 19, 2019
While Suprema is rarely discussed even within the physical security market, the South Korean biometrics manufacturer made global news this past...
Covert Elevator Face Recognition on Oct 24, 2019
Covert elevator facial recognition has the potential to solve the cost and complexity of elevator surveillance while engendering immense privacy...
France Declares School Facial Recognition Illegal Due to GDPR on Oct 31, 2019
France is the latest European country to effectively prohibit facial recognition as a school access control solution, even with the consent of...
Arcules CEO Retracts False GDPR Claim + Dahua and Milestone Claims Examined on Dec 03, 2019
Arcules CEO has retracted a false claim about his organization being a "fully compliant GDPR company" after IPVM reporting (Arcules CEO Threatens...
IPVM Opens 12,000 Sqft Testing Facility on Dec 16, 2019
IPVM is proud to announce the opening of the world's first video surveillance testing facility that will allow us to significantly expand our...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Severe Impact' Mercury Security 2020 Leap Year Firmware Issue on Jan 17, 2020
One of the largest access controller manufacturers has a big problem: February 29th. Mercury Security, owned by HID, is alerting partners of the...
Apple Acquires XNOR.ai, Loss For The Industry on Jan 16, 2020
Apple has acquired XNOR.ai for $200 million, reports GeekWire. This is a loss for the video surveillance industry. XNOR.ai stunned the industry...
Installation Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 16, 2020
Thursday, January 16th is your last chance to register for the Winter 2020 Video Surveillance Installation Course. This is a unique installation...
Halo Smart Vape Detector Tested on Jan 16, 2020
The Halo Smart Sensor claims to detect vaping, including popular brand Juul and even THC vapes. But how well does it work in real world...
PRC Government Entity Now Controlling Shareholder of Infinova / March Networks on Jan 16, 2020
A PRC government entity is now the controlling shareholder of US security manufacturer Infinova as well as its wholly-owned subsidiary March...
Network Cabling for Video Surveillance on Jan 15, 2020
In this guide, we explain the fundamentals of network cabling for video surveillance networks, how they should be installed, and the differences in...
ONVIF Trashed Statement, Confirms Dahua and Hikvision Still Suspended on Jan 15, 2020
ONVIF has 'trashed' the suspension statement for Dahua, Hikvision, Huawei, etc. but confirms to IPVM that those companies are all still...
Wyze Smart Door Lock Test on Jan 14, 2020
Wyze's inexpensive cameras have grabbed the attention of many in the consumer market, but can the company's new smart lock get similar...
Wesco Wins Anixter on Jan 13, 2020
Despite Anixter earlier arguing that Wesco's bid was inferior to CD&R's by nearly 10%, Anixter confirmed that they are taking Wesco's 3.1%...
Anixter Resisting Takeover From Competitor, Bidding War Emerges, Wesco Wins on Jan 13, 2020
Mega distributor Anixter is going to be acquired but by whom? Initially, Anixter planned to go private, being bought by a private equity firm....