Retail Crime Trends: Online Theft, Crime Tweets & Flash Mobs


retail crime trends

Planning a heist?  It’s probably best not to tweet about it.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) just released the results of their 2011 Crime Trends & Leading Practices survey.  Refund fraud and straight-up robbery seem to have gone down, but hey, we’re most interested in the practices where a notable percentage of retailers reported an uptick.  Here’s some good news — the majority of retailers said there was no increase in how often they were targeted by organized crime rings.  Now read on for the retail crime practices that are indeed on the rise:

  • 21% of respondents indicated an increase in theft by flash mob (a large group of criminals who swarm one retail location to commit large-scale theft).
  • 32% of brick-and-mortar retailers said they experienced increased use of counterfeit bills.
  • 41% said they’d noted a rise in the use of force from apprehended shoplifting suspects.
  • 44% of those surveyed noted more online theft and/or fraud (the two categories were put together).
  • 61% of retailers reported an increase in the frequency with which items stolen from them were resold online.
  • 64% said they’d experienced more pharmaceutical theft, with the notable detail that 37% of those cases involved a rise in employee collusion.

Also a useful tidbit — shoplifters should remember to set their social networking profile settings to private.  71% of respondents said they’d seen an uptick in investigators’ accessing of social media in connection with their investigations.  Besides the de rigueur Facebook and Twitter, the report noted the most informative sites included Foursquare and Flickr.  Are the most inept of thieves now checking in to their own crime scenes and posting pictures of their loot?