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Targeting ORC in Retail Fashion – A case study

Data mining & analysis at Lodge Service’s Lodgic Intelligence Centre enabled Elite Store Detectives to target losses to ORC. Result:  52% increase in Value of Recovered Goods from Arrests; 32% Security Staff cost reduction.

The Challenge

The challenge was to counter the impact of ORC (Organised Retail Crime) on the profits of this major fashion retailer.

The retail sector is at risk from some 140 criminal gangs operating nationally. Close to 80% of all retail losses from crime result from ORC (Organised Retail Crime), according to data mining and analysis by Lodge.

The fashion retailer contracted Lodge initially to deploy store detectives from its team of trained security staff to counter in-store theft. It became evident from arrests made and further investigation that a large proportion of incidents of theft and fraud were related; criminals were operating in groups, sharing information and methods to avoid detection.

ORC is a national phenomena, affecting probably all town centre multiples. Many retailers are still unaware of the scale of the problem; often seemingly small, isolated criminal acts are in fact related.

‘Conventional’ security methods are often ineffective in countering the threat: gangs are professionalised and often able to avoid detection by CCTV, EAS and other systems – or they simply ignore them, with little chance of being arrested.

The Strategy

Lodge, at its Lodgic Intelligence Centre, analysed transactions and stored security data through the use of data mining of EPoS, online transactions and other store systems. This successfully identified the primary sources of loss and relationships between apparently isolated incidents.

The goal was to find any patterns of criminal activity that would then enable the investigative team to attribute recurring losses to individuals and gangs, who could be identified from instore CCTV recordings; they would then be stopped in-store by the Lodge Service store detectives and arrested by the Police, supported by the evidence collected by the security team.

From the analysis, the majority of losses to ORC were found to be from No Receipt returns/fraudulent refunds.

A problem for retailers in stopping ORC is that gangs quickly move on to new towns, using different personal information, once the risk of detection increases – but still operating in the same way. So to counter this, Lodge Service made use of national and regional crime reports and other data to identify the gangs and associated patterns of criminal behaviour.

Lodge was able to track a gang’s activity around the UK and in many instances assess the likelihood of where they might strike next.

Key to the success of the strategy has been the close working of Lodge’s data analysis and store detective team with the retailer’s security and operational personnel, in each store and nationally, including its Risk, Total Loss, Loss Prevention and Profit Protection managers.

In addition, Lodge can deploy its team of Elite store detectives: they usually have at least six years experience and are highly trained in undercover investigation instore; to identify potentially criminal behaviour, and coordinating with the Lodgic analysts and retail managers at each location.

The Results

The strategy has worked highly successfully in loss prevention and has produced significant savings in resources and the streamlining of security processes.

The retailer now operates its own data mining team: Lodge continues to identify recurring patterns of criminal behaviour and identify related gangs and individuals, then sets up a system alert; when a suspected fraudulent transaction takes place, it is flagged up on the EPoS and security networks. Then a store detective can intervene and the Police are contacted.

Summary of Benefits

  1. An integrated operations & security strategy, intelligence-driven, for optimal use and management of retail resources 
  2. Protection is focused on a ‘resource-to-risk’ basis, with security staff deployed to maximum effect, based on data mining and analysis.
  3. Major ‘bottom line’ savings in security costs, losses to crime and recovery.

Retailers who wish to explore this strategy further should visit

About Lodge Service

A trusted partner to businesses since 1919, Lodge is the UK’s longest-serving security consultancy, family-owned for three generations. Achieved through a reputation for consistent high standards of service and innovation for nearly 100 years.

Services include: Total Loss, Profit Protection and Loss Prevention – including security staffing, investigations, CCTV and alarm installation, store detectives and test purchasing services, managed from its Lodgic intelligence centre.