The Illinois attorney general’s office has announced a new effort to fight organized retail crime, a problem which one national trade organization estimates causes $45 billion in losses each year.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul said his office has launched a task force with law enforcement, federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, major retailers and associations. His office will analyze data and tips from retailers and law enforcement to investigate organized retail crimes.
The goal is to improve communication between public and private groups to come up with an approach to find the problem and ultimately lead to more arrests.
“Organized retail crime is a multibillion dollar per year industry, but more important than the financial cost is the danger organized retail crime poses to our communities,” Raoul said in a recent statement. “These brazen, violent crimes are committed by sophisticated criminal organizations that are involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking and other serious crimes.”
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The Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, a trade organization, estimates retail theft accounts for $45 billion in annual losses. Retailers also report that theft has increased in recent years. For instance, Home Depot’s investigations into organized retail crime networks have jumped by 86% since 2016, according to Raoul’s office.