Arkansas joins multistate alliance to combat organized retail crime


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Little Rock, Arkansas – The State of Arkansas has recently become part of an alliance comprised of four states and the Department of Homeland Security, intending to combat organized retail crime.

The alliance, as outlined by the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations office in New Orleans, unites law enforcement agencies from federal, state, and local levels, along with partners from the retail and financial sectors in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. The primary focus of this collaboration is to confront domestic and transnational criminal organizations that profit from systematic retail crime.

According to officials, retail crime syndicates typically secure goods unlawfully through theft or fraud, and subsequently sell these items for financial benefit. A report from the Retail Industry Leaders Association in 2021 revealed that retailers experienced a loss of over $70 billion due to stolen goods in 2019. However, this figure is likely to be even larger due to a surge in thefts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the officials noted.

HSI Special Agent in Charge, Eric DeLaune, shed light on the comprehensive impacts of organized retail theft, stating, “Organized retail crime is not simply shoplifting, and it isn’t a victimless crime; it costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars every year and often local communities and businesses bear the costs of rising retail prices.” DeLaune further explained that organized theft groups have become audacious, resorting to theft in daylight, and even violence, causing an adverse effect on the economy, prompting a surge in prices, job losses, and unsafe conditions for shoppers and employees alike.

Arkansas Attorney General, Tim Griffin, affirmed his office’s participation in the alliance, recognizing the significant effects of organized retail crime, and underlined that, “We all pay for it at the cash register.”

As the main investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security, HSI is tasked with the responsibility to investigate transnational crime and threats, specifically focusing on those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure used for international trade, travel, and finance.


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