FMI Teams With NRF, Ebay Against ORC

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has joined forces with the National Retail Federation (NRF) and auction website eBay to combat organized retail crime (ORC). The aim of the collaboration is to facilitate even greater collaboration and information sharing in the continuing effort to bolster the investigations of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies working with grocery loss prevention professionals.

“The partnership between FMI, NRF and eBay will further strengthen the ability to support legislation and create standards and best practices so criminals find no safe harbor to fence their stolen goods no matter who they steal from,” noted Rhett Asher, VP, industry relations at Arlington, Va.-based FMI.

The three organizations will take a multitiered approach to the problem, by agreeing to unite a core group of FMI retail members and representatives of eBay regularly to discuss organized retail crime, pinpoint best practices in prevention, and work to eradicate criminal activity; leverage new technology, including LERPnet and eBay’s PROACT programs, to further help law enforcement identify and track ORC rings; collaborate with the FBI to assist in the identification of crime rings responsible for stealing merchandise in bulk; and work together on legislation to boost federal law enforcement resources to fight organized retail crime and punish major offenders via tougher criminal penalties.

“eBay is fully committed to playing a leadership role in the Internet community to combat retail crime, and that includes actively partnering with leadership organizations such as FMI who bring expertise, energy and important retail businesses to the effort,” said Paul Jones, global director of asset protection at San Jose, Calif.-based eBay, who noted that the partnership would “build a culture of loss prevention cooperation top to bottom.”

“Recent organized retail crime cases across the country demonstrate the sophisticated tactics being used by these criminal enterprises, and need for collaboration between retailers, online marketplaces and law enforcement," added Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor at Arlington-based NRF. “The addition of FMI to the existing partnership between NRF and eBay will foster greater collaboration and development of best practices to stop criminals from fencing their stolen goods to unsuspecting shoppers.”

Almost two-thirds of supermarkets said they’ve experienced an increase in the amount of ORC activity, FMI’s “Supermarket Security and Loss Prevention 2009” report found. Also according to the survey, 78 percent of grocery stores said they’re allocating more resources to beat ORC.

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