Fighting ORC requires new tech, partnerships, experts say

New England ORC conference grows
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WORCESTER, Mass.— Loss prevention specialists were encouraged to embrace new technology and to network and form partnerships with law enforcement at the eighth annual conference of the New England Organized Retail Crime Alliance, which convened here last month.

“We’ve been preaching about the cost to retailers for years now. This conference shows how much we care about this issue. This is an important day to network,” the conference’s master of ceremonies, Kevin M. Plante, said in his opening remarks.

Plante is the director of loss prevention reporting and analytics for CVS Health and chairman of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts loss prevention committee.

“Nationally, shoplifting and ORC costs more than $30 billion a year,” said Plante.

Technology will decrease that cost and bring LP pros’ jobs up to the next level, Plante said, urging attendees to check out the LP-focused technology on display at the conference.

Plante told Security Director News that attendance at the NEORCA conference was up this year, with upwards of 300 attendees.

Joe LaRocca, vice president and senior advisor, Loss Prevention RetaiLPartners; Timothy Flynn, senior investigations manager, J.C. Penney; Jay Bartholomew, unit chief, FBI; and Malay Kundu, CEO, Stoplift Checkout Vision Systems, were among the speakers at the event. 

LaRocca told attendees that emerging technologies are the future of the loss prevention industry and need to be deployed, especially with the growing acceptance of contactless transactions.

A number of retailers are using facial recognition to their advantage, but they don’t talk about it with other retailers, he said. “Everybody gets the heebie jeebies about it, but it’s the way of the future.”

He also said retail shrink is severely underestimated. “Fraud activity we talk about today is not (counted as) shrinkage, cargo theft is not shrinkage, robberies, counterfeit goods are not shrinkage,” he said. But it all adds up to huge losses for retailers.

“We seriously underestimate losses every year.  And most people will never tell you that fact,” he said.

Then there are those data breaches, he said. Target has some of the best LP and IT people in the industry, he said. If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone.