A study report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) has revealed that cases of organised retail crime (ORC) are continuing to increase in the US.

The 16th annual ORC study shows that three-quarters of retail companies have been victims and they are claiming that the cases keep rising. The number of dollars lost also increased for the fifth consecutive year.

The relaxation in law enforcement guidelines, fluctuations in shoplifting laws and low penalties have been cited as the reasons for the rise in ORC.

In addition, the survey reveals that 75% of loss prevention executives across large and mid-sized retail companies agree that ORC activity had increased in the last one year.

Losses from organised thefts averaged at $719,548 per $1bn in sales. This represents a 2% increase compared to the past year.

NRF research development and industry analysis vice-president Mark Mathews said: “Retailers are seeing more cases and higher losses as organised crime continues to target stores, warehouses and cargo. Retailers are investing millions to fight these crimes, but they need more help from law enforcement and, most of all, they need tougher laws that recognise the difference between petty shoplifting and professional crime for profit.”

The survey revealed that 52% of retailers have implemented more technology to reduce ORC-related thefts while 36% have increased loss prevention budgets.

According to the study, the top five cities for ORC in the past year are Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, New York and San Francisco.