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The New York Times reports this morning that “retailers have just begun to recognize that the teenager who shoplifts a candy bar or a pair of jeans is no longer their biggest nemesis, and they are now coordinating efforts to combat organized gangs” responsible for $30 billion worth of organized retail theft.

“Major retailers ranging from the Gap and Sears to Walgreens and Wal-Mart are quietly developing national crime databases to compile evidence from shoplifting incidents; one such database will begin operating this month,” the NYT writes. “The industry is hoping that the information will help federal investigators build legal cases against suspected theft rings.

“Retailers said the databases, an unusual collaboration in a fiercely competitive industry, should eliminate the biggest hole in their security systems: a failure to share information. Secrecy surrounding a chain's losses from theft, even how it protects against shoplifting, is a powerful tradition in retailing. But it has also proved to be a boon to organized shoplifting teams, which can strike dozens of retailers in a given area without fear that the stores will realize they are the victims of an organized attack.”
KC's View:
We had no idea. But as the NYT makes clear, most people are unaware of this trend – and even law enforcement officials came slowly to the realization that organized retail theft has reached this level.