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LAPD and Alto US Announce New Tool to Battle Organized Retail Crime

October 04, 2018  | 

City Attorney Mike Feuer, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and Alto US have announced they are teaming up to implement the retail risk management solution Alto Alliance, a technology platform with comprehensive analytics that ties together retailers' data with industry-wide resources to efficiently bridge the gap between retail, law enforcement, and the judicial system to prosecute repeat offenders and organized retail crime gangs. http://www.alto.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/alliance.jpg

"This new technology tool will greatly enhance our petty theft prosecutions by collecting and organizing the evidence needed for successful prosecutions, allowing us to focus our resources on repeat offenders while maximizing rehabilitation opportunities for first offenders," said Mary Clare Molidor, Chief of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Criminal Branch.

Los Angeles ranks as the number one city in the U.S. for organized retail crime (ORC), according to the National Retail Federation 2017 Organized Retail Crime survey, Organized Retail Crime Survey 2017.pdf.

The survey found:

  • ORC continues to pose a serious threat to retailers with 9 in 10 reported having been a victim of ORC in the past 12 months.
  • ORC costs retailers an average of $726,351 per every $1 billion in sales.
  • Aggression shown by ORC gangs continues to rise. More than 25 percent of retailers report those involved in organized retail crime are exhibiting a greater tendency towards violent behavior.

"Retail theft hurts not only local businesses, but all Los Angeles consumers, and that is why the LAPD will continue to collaborate with a variety of partners both public and private," said LAPD Commander Blake Chow, Information Technology Group. "This initiative exemplifies the Department's commitment to 'smart' policing and a data driven approach that best leverages our city's resources."

"I have been very impressed with the sincere desire displayed by both the Los Angeles Police Department and City Attorney's office to partner with Alto to address the growing problem of retail theft that is sweeping the nation," said Karl Langhorst, CPP, CFI, executive vice president for Alto US. "These agencies realize that recidivist retail theft offenders don't just cause significant losses for retailers but also negatively impact community safety. Alto is honored to provide its services at no cost to the City of Los Angeles, and to have the opportunity to provide the innovative AllianceSM solution to the LAPD, city prosecutors, and retailers—uniting these entities in their efforts to reduce crime and provide safer communities."

Proactively addressing the problem of organized retail theft and shoplifting, by partnering with local law enforcement and the criminal justice system, is Alto Alliance retailer Albertsons Companies.

"Retailers have struggled to find a solution to reduce shoplifting and manage risks in stores," said Kathleen Smith, CFI, vice president of loss prevention for Albertsons Companies. "The Alto program has designed a strategy that effectively brings law enforcement, prosecutors, and retailers together, with a goal of reducing crime in stores while enhancing our shoppers' experience."

New "Organized Retail Theft" Bill

In 2014, voters passed prop 47, which reduced a theft crime to a misdemeanor if $950 or less worth of property is stolen in a single incident. Anything above $950 can be charged as a felony. The unintended consequences of prop 47 – an increase in organized retail theft.

On September 28, 2018, California Governor, Jerry Brown signed AB 1065 into law. The new law defines and recognizes organized retail theft (ORC) as a crime, expands jurisdiction to prosecute cases of theft or receipt of stolen merchandise, and makes it a felony or misdemeanor.

Included in the bill:

  • Changes the threshold for highest penalty from 3 or more convictions within 12 months to 2 or more convictions within 12 months
  • If the aggregated value of the merchandise stolen, received, purchased, or possessed within that 1-year period exceeds $950, the offense is punishable as a realigned felony with a maximum of three years in the county jail, or as a misdemeanor with a maximum of one year in the county jail
  • Requires the CHP to convene a regional property crimes task force
  • Allows the prosecuting attorney's office or county probation department to create a diversion or deferred entry of judgment program for persons who commit repeat theft offenses

For more information about Alto US, visit https://www.alto.us.

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