Los Angeles has achieved the unenviable distinction of being the number one city in the nation for organized retail theft for the fifth consecutive year.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
According to the annual report from the National Retail Federation, which surveyed 177 brands, the average “shrink rate” in the US increased from 1.4% in 2021 to 1.6% last year. The term “shrink rate” refers to the loss of inventory.
Although the percentage change may seem insignificant, the trade group asserts that it represents an additional $18.2 billion deficit.
The San Francisco Bay Area retained its second place ranking for the third year in a row, while Sacramento claimed the seventh spot.
“Retail crime, violence, and theft are impacting the retail industry at unprecedented levels,” stated the NRF in its report. “The impact of these criminal acts extends beyond major national brands and large metropolitan areas. Daily media reports demonstrate that no business is exempt, and these issues affect retailers of all sizes, segments, and locations throughout the United States.”
A video shows a mob of thieves escaping from the main floor of Nordstrom at the Topanga Mall with merchandise worth thousands of dollars before fleeing through the door on August 12, 2023. (TNLA) Store employees are seen cleaning up after a devastating robbery at the Nordstrom in Canoga Park by a group of thieves on August 12, 2023. (Garrett Giroux) A cell phone video captures a group of masked perpetrators running away after grabbing a handful of perfume and cologne from a store in Sherman Oaks, California, and exiting on August 24, 2023. (Citizen) Another video exhibits thieves pilfering a Nordstrom Rack in Riverside, California, on July 10, 2023. (Riverside Police) On August 9, 2023, a group of thieves carried out a robbery at a YSL store located at the Americana brand. (Caitlin Jasper) Security footage depicts a gang of criminals breaking into a Nordstrom Rack in Riverside and making off with designer handbags worth thousands of dollars. (Riverside Police Department) Stolen merchandise valued at nearly $200,000 was recovered from Victoria’s Secret and CVS stores after the suspects attempted to sell the items in Downtown LA in August 2023. (Los Angeles Police Department)
Indeed, the issue of thefts carried out in a “flash mob” style has long been a recurring theme in the daily news coverage of metropolitan Los Angeles, but it is now becoming increasingly commonplace.
Thieves are consistently caught on camera robbing retailers, even in crowded shopping malls, without any concern for security or the fact that their actions are being recorded.
In August, a large group of thieves targeted the Nordstrom at the Westfield Topanga shopping mall, dealing a significant blow to local authorities.
In response, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, the Los Angeles Police Department, the LA County Sheriff’s Department, and Glendale Police jointly announced the establishment of a new regional task force dedicated to combating organized retail theft.
Officials report that the task force has already made numerous arrests of individuals involved in the thefts and the trafficking of stolen goods.
Top cities and metropolitan areas affected by ORC in 2022 (Source: National Retail Federation)
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco/Oakland
- New York
“While theft undeniably impacts a retailer’s profit margins, retailers are highly concerned about the escalating levels of violence and the threat of violence associated with theft and crime,” expressed the federation. “88% of retailers report that shoppers, in general, are displaying somewhat more aggression and violence compared to a year ago.”