Retail theft reaches more than $37 billion

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A new survey recently conducted by the University of Florida found that retailers lost $37.1 billion in theft last year, up nearly $4 billion from 2009.

Criminologist Richard Hollinger led the National Retail Security Survey, which was sponsored by security systems integrator ADT Commercial. Hollinger found that employee theft made up the largest portion with $16.2 billion in losses, or more than 43% of the total, followed by shoplifting and organized retail crime, with a loss of $12.1 billion, or almost 33% of the total losses.

"It is possible this increase is due to the prevalence of ORC, where items are stolen in quantity and then resold to consumers on the Internet or at flea markets," Hollinger said. "The National Retail Federation just completed its own survey showing an increase in ORC activities with more than 95% of retailers saying they had been victims and almost 85% indicating that the problem had gotten worse over the last three years."

Retail theft includes shoplifting, employee theft, administrative error and vendor fraud.

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