WASHINGTON - Legislation Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) targets the rise in flash mob robberies and intricate retail theft schemes sweeping the nation. The Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023 establishes a coordinated multi-agency response and creates new tools to tackle evolving trends in organized retail theft.
"Stores throughout American communities have not been spared from a national crime wave. These organized theft rings have been developing new tactics to pilfer goods, causing economic harm to American businesses and putting consumers at risk while funding transnational criminal organizations throughout the world. These criminals are exploiting the internet and online marketplaces to stay one step ahead of the law, and it's time the law catches up. This bill improves our federal response to organized retail crime and establishes new tools to recover goods and illicit proceeds, and deter future attacks on American retailers," Grassley said.
"I've heard directly from retailers across Nevada about the challenges they're facing with organized retail crime-that's why I'm pushing bipartisan legislation to help our law enforcement keep these businesses safe. Protecting our communities shouldn't be a partisan issue, and I will continue working with Senator Grassley to crack down on organized crime and stand up for the Nevada small businesses that have been targeted," Cortez Masto said.
Organized retail crime costs retailers $720,000 for every $1 billion in sales - up 50 percent since 2015. As law enforcement focuses on the rise in drug trafficking and other offenses, criminal organizations have increasingly turned to retail crime to generate illicit profits, using internet-based tools to organize flash mobs, sell stolen goods and move money.
The bipartisan, bicameral Combating Organized Retail Crime Act creates a unified government and industry collaboration to address this trend. The bill establishes a Center to Combat Organized Retail Crime at Homeland Security Investigations that combines expertise from state and local law enforcement agencies as well as retail industry representatives. It also creates new tools to assist in federal investigation and prosecution of organized retail crime, and help recover lost goods and proceeds.
The Combating Organized Retail Crime Act is supported by the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ICSC, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD and the PASS (Protect America's Small Sellers) Coalition.
"NRF commends Senators Chuck Grassley and Catherine Cortez Masto for their leadership on legislation to curtail one of the most urgent problems facing retailers and the communities we serve. Organized retail crime is a multibillion-dollar crisis impacting retailers, associates and consumers. NRF's 2022 National Retail Security Survey
found that over the past year retailers have reported a significant increase in violence and aggression associated with these brazen crimes. The Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023
will align efforts within a new Organized Retail Crime Coordination Center to ensure that resources and information-sharing will be available across state, federal and private-sector partners. This legislation is an important step to help retailers fight back against ORC," said the National Retail Federation.
"Establishing a federal center that pulls together all of the respective agencies that have jurisdiction over organized retail crime is necessary to enhance collaboration in the fight against sophisticated crime rings. Many criminal syndicates are using the profits derived from the sale of stolen goods to fund additional violent criminal activity in our communities such as human trafficking, gun smuggling, narcotics and terrorism-it makes collaboration between agencies more important than ever. Retailers appreciate Sen. Grassley and Sen. Cortez Masto's leadership in championing legislation that will establish a center to help disrupt and prosecute criminal rings targeting retail stores. We are eager to help garner support for the bill," said Michael Hanson, senior executive vice president, public affairs, Retail Industry Leaders Association.
"Organized retail crime is leading to more brazen and more violent attacks in retail stores and centers throughout the country, putting employees and consumers at risk. In light of the increased number of attacks and lost revenue, we're pleased that this legislation will broaden the statutes dealing with the transport of stolen goods and provide additional resources to law enforcement at both the federal and state level," said Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC.
"Organized retail crime has a devastating impact on businesses and communities. It is particularly harmful for small businesses that lack the resources to recover and employees and customers who are traumatized by the interactions. As these crimes increase, law enforcement is seeing perpetrators become more violent and more brazen, leaving business workers in the harrowing position of choosing between their livelihoods and their lives. Law enforcement must be equipped with the tools to reverse this criminal trend. We applaud Senator Grassley and Senator Cortez Masto for introducing this legislation so federal law enforcement can better work with state and local partners and industry to combat organized retail crime." Federal Law Enforcement Officers of America National President Larry Cosme said.
Legislative text is available HERE
. A summary of is available HERE