Fighting ORC as a Small Business: The Importance of Collaboration
May 9, 2022
Constanza Trebilcock
Over the past few years, public leaders, governmental officials, loss prevention experts, and law enforcement are increasingly forming collaborative partnerships to fight the rise in organized retail crime (ORC) across the country. For smaller retailers that do not have ORC and LP teams to support them, creating these relationships and gaining the support of community partnerships is a growing need. Earlier this year, after a recent uptick in shoplifting, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg decided to team up with small businesses to create a “Manhattan Small Business Alliance” comprised of local business owners, Business Improvement District directors, law enforcement, and social service providers, dedicated to tackling theft and crime. This news illustrates why retail alliances are essential to successfully tackling ORC, especially for small businesses. Here’s what small business owners can do to strengthen their relationships and garner public support to build an alliance of their own.

Build Relationships with Law Enforcement 

Building a relationship with your local law enforcement officers is the first step to conquering ORC as a team. However, building this relationship requires collaboration, communication, and, most importantly, information sharing. Retailers must do as much work as possible before law enforcement becomes involved to help them do their jobs effectively. This includes making complete, accurate, and timely incident reports and gathering all necessary information, including evidence, footage, and witness statements. Presenting law enforcement officers with everything they need to build strong cases and pursue investigations will build trust and prove to law enforcement that you are willing to work hard to be an equal partner on the same team. This, in turn, encourages law enforcement to support you and be an ally to your business in the future.

Gain Public Support 

It’s also important to share information and communicate with local elected and appointed leaders. Attend city council meetings, host community events, and connect with other loss prevention leaders in your area. Help your legislators and government officials understand your challenges by having dialogues and educating them on the impact ORC is having on your business. Bringing exact data on your shrink numbers and describing your collaborative efforts with law enforcement will help you bolster your case and encourage action. This will establish you as a cooperative resource and invite your local officials to become stakeholders in your community and the fight against ORC.

Join a Retail Alliance 

Retail alliances bring all of these stakeholders together to create real change. Organized retail crime associations (ORCAs) and task forces between prosecutors, retailers, and law enforcement have become more common in many cities as ORC worsens and are an excellent way for small businesses to get involved in their existing retail communities. Like Bragg’s “Manhattan Small Business Alliance,” Urging public leaders to form their own alliances is another solution. For businesses in need of additional support for their team, solutions like ALTO provide supplemental “boots on the ground” resources to your in-store team and the community. ALTO helps retailers form partnerships with local law enforcement, governmental officials, prosecutors, and community members and helps retailers overcome ORC by bolstering incident reporting, collecting evidence needed for prosecution, and ensuring legal action is taken for each incident. With the help of task forces, ORCAs, and other retail alliances such as the one ALTO has build across the country, small business owners find that building relationships in the community and working together as a team is the most effective approach to tackling ORC.