Increasing Theft and Violence Continue to Harm Retailers, Retail Workers, and the Communities they Serve

Gainesville, Florida, September 26, 2023 – According to the National Retail Federation’s 2023 National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), retail crime continues to harm retailers, their employees, and the communities they serve. This survey, conducted in partnership with the Loss Prevention Research Council, shows that retail theft, violence, and other types of retail crime increased throughout the industry in 2022.

“Addressing violent crime and protecting employee safety remain retailers’ greatest priority” according to Dr. Read Hayes, Director of the LPRC and Research Scientist at UF. Dr. Hayes has been in the industry for nearly 40 years, and suggests that “retailers are facing challenges [he] would never have imagined a decade ago.” Unfortunately, according to David Johnston, NRF Vice President of Asset Protection and Retail Operations, the “situation is only becoming more dire.”

According to the NRSS, 88% of retailers reported shoplifters are more aggressive and violent when compared to one year ago. The report also reveals that 72% of retailers report violence during the commission of a crime is more of a priority compared to one year ago, while 65% report guest-on-associate violence is more of a priority.

“Retail violence and aggression is often related to organized retail crime, especially localized forms of ORC,” according to Dr. Cory Lowe, Senior Research Scientist at the LPRC and principal investigator on the NRSS for the LPRC. The report defines ORC as “theft or fraud conducted with the intent to convert illegally obtained merchandise, cash, cargo or cash equivalent for financial gain.” Nevertheless, 67% of retailers reported that aggression and violence associated with organized retail crime has increased in the past year.

According to Lowe, individuals and groups engaged in ORC often target items that have several of the CRAVED characteristics; that is, they are “concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable, and/or disposable.” These characteristics make them ideal targets for individuals seeking to convert merchandise to cash. For example, items such as laundry detergent pods, handbags, fresh and frozen seafood, athletic shoes, over-the-counter medication, infant formula, and skin and beauty products are often targeted, according to the NRSS. This year, retailers identified Los Angeles, San Francisco/Oakland, Houston, New York and Seattle as the cities and metropolitan areas most affected by ORC.

Of course, all of this contributes to increased retail shrink. According to the NRSS, the average industry-wide shrink rate increased from 1.4% in fiscal year 2021 to 1.6% in fiscal year 2022. This represents approximately $112 billion in losses in 2022, up from an estimated $94 billion in 2021.* However, shrink differs considerably by sector. For example, pharmacy, grocery, department stores, and mass merchandise stores reported shrink rates of over 2%, on average. Alternatively, retailers in the jewelry, watch, home furnishings and furniture, and footwear sectors reported shrink rates of less than 1.5%, on average.

Dr. Lowe cautions readers to avoid conflating the retail shrink problem with the harms of retail crime because “shrink is comprised of both criminal and non-criminal sources.” For example, in fiscal year 2022, retailers attributed 36% of shrink to external theft; 29% to employee theft; 27% to process, control failures, and errors; 6% to unknown sources; and 1% to other sources, on average. However, the second problem according to Lowe, is that “shrink does not account for many of the other harms associated with retail crime, especially violent crime.”

Given the challenges described in the report, retailers are dedicating additional resources to address retail crime and losses. As mentioned previously, workplace safety remains a key priority among retailers, and 54% report they are increasing employee workplace violence training. However, 34% reported increasing internal payroll to address risks, 46% have increased their use of third-party security, and 54% reported they are increasing their budgets for technology and software solutions.

“Retailers remain committed to innovating to protect vulnerable people, places, and property” according to Dr. Hayes. As the NRSS shows, retailers are increasingly turning to mobile surveillance units to protect parking lots, and are using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to provide better inventory insights. However, “retailers are continuing to explore innovative technologies” according to Dr. Hayes, and are “trialing technologies such as body-worn cameras and computer vision analytics.” 

However, retailers have also adjusted their policies in response to these changes. According to the NRSS, 41% of respondents reported that none of their employees are authorized to stop or apprehend shoplifters. According to Dr. Lowe, retail companies adopt these “hands off” policies because retail offenders often pose a serious threat to retail employees and guests. However, this puts “retailers in a difficult position because it creates the impression among retail offenders that no one will intervene in retail crimes.”

While there is a “role for technology, tactics, and company policies to play in addressing these issues, these are only part of the solution,” according to Dr. Lowe. For fiscal year 2022, retailers attributed the largest portion of retail shrink to shoplifting, burglary, robbery, and other crimes committing by non-employees. Lowe suggests that “those who victimize retailers and retail workers come from, and return to, the surrounding communities,” because of this, “changes to public policies and practices must be part of the solution.”

*The 2021 figures have been updated to reflect the U.S Census Bureau’s April 2023 revisions to retail sales; therefore, losses differ from what was reported in the 2022 NRSS.

About the NRSS

The 2023 National Retail Security Survey was conducted online by senior loss prevention and security executives in the retail industry. This year’s results contain insights from 177 retail brands, which accounted for $1.6 trillion of annual retail sales in 2022, and represent more than 97,000 retail locations across the United States. The study was done in partnership with the Loss Prevention Research Council and is sponsored by Appriss Retail. Click here to view the report.

About the NRF
The National Retail Federation passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

About the LPRC
The Loss Prevention Research Council was founded in 2000 by leading retailers and Dr. Read Hayes, an NRSS co-founder, in an effort to support the evidence-based needs of loss prevention decision-makers. To date, the LPRC has conducted over 300 studies with retailers and other research partners. The LPRC strives to provide comprehensive research and development opportunities, and collaborative spaces for members that enable the innovation of retail loss and crime control solutions.

LPRC and ISCPO Partnership Press Release:

With disruptions causing over $4 trillion dollars in profit loss according to Reuters, supply chain challenges continue to affect retailers, manufacturers, and other logistics companies alike. Strategic partnerships and collaboration are needed to ensure the maximum safety & efficiency during these demanding times.

As of January 10th, 2022, the LPRC and ISCPO have drawn up a partnership in the spirit of collaboration to cultivate a Supply Chain Community for both organization’s members and the overall supply chain industry.

The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), a twenty-two-year-old industry leading research organization that collaborates with over 70 retail member organizations, 80 protective solution companies, law enforcement, industry partners, and academic leaders, for the goal of providing evidence-based solutions addressing loss, safety, and fraud prevention, and the International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO), a non-profit professional association that connects members from a wide array of sectors across the global supply chain including retail, wholesale, eCommerce, manufacturing, insurance, risk management/legal, distribution, operations, and logistics, as well as, law enforcement and government agencies, established to promote collaborative efforts of networking, benchmarking and resource development for security and asset protection professionals across the global supply chain, have decided to enter into a partnership to maximize the value of both organizations and the industry at large.

Both the LPRC and ISCPO each bring tremendous value to this new endeavor. With natural disasters, workplace violence, and many other supply chain logistical issues at the forefront of industry concerns; the LPRC/ISCPO partnership is ready to combat these issues by mobilizing their communities to identify, research, and address these acute and chronic issues. Now with a joint Supply Chain Protection Working Group, industry leaders and solution providers, will continue to have monthly engagements to help work through a variety of industry issues, and come together to research specific concerns and solutions.

The LPRC and the ISCPO are both proud and excited to enter this partnership and to embark on a journey to bring mitigation strategies, problem solving solutions & research to the supply chain industry as a whole.

Should you have any questions about this partnership please feel free to reach out to:

Rhett Asher – ISCPO President & Chairman


Diego Rodriguez – LPRC Supply Chain Protection Working Group Facilitator & LPRC Representative


Retail Crime Can Be Dangerous and Intimidating.

Retail stores are a vital part of any community. They conveniently and quickly provide the goods local people want and need. And shops are places where residents work and build their careers. Finally, stores also provide entertainment and can be a welcome diversion for busy, stressed citizens.

But ongoing thefts and looting intimidates workers, shoppers, and their loved ones while boosting fear of criminal victimization and the resulting avoidance behavior. Store thefts can result in Injury and worse, as well as strip stores of desirable goods local citizens seek forcing them to look elsewhere for better, safer shopping options.


No individual store or even chain can flourish alone in this climate of increasing crime victimization and lower consequences for those that harm others where they work and shop. Retailers are working together to build stronger, science-based cross-company, local policymaker, and law enforcement partnerships at the individual retail center and market levels in part via the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC).

Over 70 US retail companies work together with 80 protective solution companies and PhD-level research scientists on anti-crime community engagement and technological solutions via Gainesville, FL based Loss Prevention Research Council. LPRC’s Director and University of Florida Research Scientist/Criminologist Read Hayes, PhD works with a team of eight to support retailers as they deal with theft, fraud, and violence across their stores and supply chain using data analytics, randomized field experiments, offender interviews, a series of simulated retail environment labs, and other scientific methods.

What and How

The LPRC team is available to discuss retail crime dynamics, and group and individual crime reduction strategies and tactics at:

North American retailers experienced the highest average shrinkage – unexpected losses due to crime, administrative reporting, and exceptions to standard operating practice – in three decades as reported by the National Retail Federation in 2020. The need to collaborate in a non-competitive manner has become increasingly more important to retailers. The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) continues to provide science-based programs and systems that have a positive effect on controlling these unnecessary expenses, and the heightened interest from the retail community has been overwhelming.

Dr. Read Hayes, University of Florida Research Scientist/Criminologist and LPRC Director, has announced a partnership with Lighthouse Consultants (LHC) to support ongoing efforts to engage with the retail community.

LHC is made up of an industry-leading and experienced group of professionals: Chad McIntosh, former VP LP and Risk Management at Bloomingdales, Stephen O’Keefe, former VP LP and Risk Management at Walmart Canada, Russ Tate, 35+ years of loss prevention and security solution experience, and Jeff Powers, loss prevention and security consultant. LHC will partner with LPRC to help drive membership and awareness of their unique and compelling, science-based, results-driven expertise.

“LPRC is proud and excited to be working with LHC as we focus on the next level expansion of our research and results community,” said Dr. Hayes.

For more information about how to join the LPRC, please contact

Gainesville, Florida. Release Date: 1/28/2020


The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) has announced its plans to relocate its formerly named Research Lab by mid-March 2020. This mock store environment contains over one hundred technologies that aid in combating theft, fraud, and violence in the retail setting.


The Research Lab will be known as the Engagement Lab moving forward. This change accurately reflects how members will connect with the mock store. Retailers will be able to engage with the cutting-edge technology from LPRC’s solution partners and the interactive kiosks used to explore the research organization’s theories and methodologies.


The newly dubbed Engagement Lab will be moving across the street, into the UF Innovation Hub, where the LPRC NextRetail Research Center (NRC) currently resides. As one of the main components of the NRC and the LPRC’s research process, the Engagement Lab will be physically connected to the other spaces that make up the NRC: the Ideation, Simulation, and Activation Lab. The proximity of the LPRC’s labs to one another will be key in increasing the speed and quality in which the LPRC team conducts its research.


“We are very excited to have the entirety of the LPRC under one roof,” says LPRC Director and University of Florida Research Scientist Dr. Read Hayes. “This move will improve the flow of our research, increase the efficacy of our team, and allow our members to witness our research process in one central location.”


About the Loss Prevention Research Council


The Loss Prevention Research Council provides comprehensive research, development opportunities, and collaborative spaces that enable the innovation of loss & crime control solutions.


To learn more about LPRC, please visit:

The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), a leading loss prevention & retail research organization with a membership of over 70 retail chains and 75 technology companies, has announced their partnership with Nedap, the Global Leader in RFID-based retail solutions to combat theft and loss by launching and developing the On-Shelf Availability Center of Excellence, located within the NextRetail Research Center.

As part of the LPRC Innovate program, the NextRetail Research Center provides a location for research and development, training engagements, and a simulation space with virtual reality and augmented reality capabilities. The On-Shelf Availability Center of Excellence is a hub within the NextRetail Research Center that allows LPRC researchers to focus their efforts on product availability in the retail setting.

Retailers face rising issues with theft and shrinkage that contribute to billions of dollars in loss each year. With Nedap’s support, the On-Shelf Availability Center of Excellence will lead to new insights and innovation to proactively fight crime and help retail enterprises achieve success.

“We are very excited to partner with Nedap to stand up the On-Shelf Availability Center of Excellence,” says LPRC Director Dr. Read Hayes. “The landscape of retail is changing, and to keep up with these emerging trends and issues, we must quickly come up with innovative solutions. We believe that this new hub for research & development aimed at ensuring product availability for customer demands will be essential to our mission.”

“Nedap is proud to support the LPRC by contributing to new insights and innovation to enable retailers to solve their product availability and shrinkage challenges’’ says Rob Schuurman, Managing Director at Nedap Retail. ‘’As the Global Leader in RFID, we feel it is our duty to share our expertise in the field of RFID-based Loss Prevention technology. Our partnership with the LPRC helps us participate and learn from the industry to accelerate that mission.”


About the Loss Prevention Research Council

The Loss Prevention Research Council provides comprehensive research, development opportunities, and collaborative spaces that enable the innovation of loss & crime control solutions.

To learn more about LPRC, please visit:


About Nedap Retail

Nedap is the Global Leader in RFID-based Retail solutions. Nedap helps retailers permanently prevent losses, optimize stock levels and simplify the multi-store retail management using RFID. Nedap’s RFID software platform gives retailers real-time item-level insights into their stock levels and the exact location of each item.  Using these real-time insights, retailers are able to be more agile, offer customers a better shopping experience, and increase sales.
More info:

For Immediate Release
Gainesville, FL

Every single day customers report they never receive an online order. According to the 2017 Shorr Report, over 30% of online customers have reported their online purchase missing/stolen from their front porch. With an estimated 25.9 million American having experienced package theft, a special team of behavioral research scientists from the University of Florida, and the industry group Loss Prevention Research Council, are systematically working to reduce delivered item theft using simulated and actual porch areas, reported crime event data sets, and an array of integrated technologies and tactics.

The UF & LPRC science team applies and adjusts situational crime prevention tactics that affect would-be offenders. Effective countermeasures must be ingrained into the minds of potential thieves to convince them “not here, not now.” Situational tactics are designed to affect an offender’s ease of theft action (disruption), increase their perceived fear of detection and sanction (deterrence), and reduce realistic rewards of theft (benefit denial). Another key point of the ongoing R&D is offenders could be delivery personnel, dishonest customers trying to scam the retailer, or of course third-party thieves searching for, or just seizing, a theft opportunity.

A recent LPRC study has been conducted to identify variable constructs of asset, environmental, and population characteristics that may lead to porch piracy, as well as to gain insight on the offender perspective through interviews with porch pirates.  Please click here to view the introductory paper, available to all LPRC members.

The UF & LPRC team is uniquely positioned to conduct this problem-solving research since their mandate is to develop both practical and evidence-based strategies for almost 70 major retail organizations. The LPRC works up anti-theft, fraud, and violence protocols using multi-method research including extensive actual offender interviews, sophisticated data modeling, and rigorous field experiments.

In the case of porch piracy, the group breaks down the online order to delivery process (crime-scripting) to look for vulnerability and protective “treatment” opportunity points, then works to trial and integrate promising practices from purchase, transport, delivery, and return-to-vendor.

Protective treatment opportunity points include:
• Retailer and distribution/fulfillment centers
• Brand name and newly emerging home delivery modes
• Differing residential types
• Varying residential ecosystems
• Day versus night conditions
• Packaging size and marking variations
• Mono and poly protective treatment actions

Please contact the University of Florida Crime Prevention Research Team, and The LPRC team at, or 352-222-8202 for further questions.

NASHVILLE, September 13, 2018 – The Restaurant Loss Prevention & Security Association (RLPSA) is proud to announce its new partnership with the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), designed to bring even more value to RLPSA’s members. The RLPSA is also announcing its latest schedule of upcoming events including membership discussions and webinars, as well as the next RLPSA CONNECT event.

RLPSA’s and LPRC’s newly formed partnership will enhance the research efforts within the quick-service and table service restaurant environments. The partnership will also enable RLPSA members to serve on the LPRC working groups and contribute restaurant perspectives to the various research projects.

RLPSA’s Board President, Ken Gladney, said, “RLPSA is proud to continue to invest in our membership by partnering with the LPRC. This strategic partnership will enhance the research efforts of RLPSA as well as provide access to research studies from a variety of mission-critical topics such as delivery and armed robbery.”

Gainesville, Florida – October, 2018

Retail crime is typically high year-round, but tends to spike during the busy holiday shopping period leading to billions in losses and occasional violence. Over 65 national retail chains and 75 security technology companies are working together with the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) and the University of Florida to help meet the need for cutting-edge crime reduction solutions, many of which are featured in the Innovation Lab mock store.

The newest edition of the Innovation Lab, which includes a simulated in-store environment, parking lot and centralized command center environments, houses over 100 of the latest and upcoming prevention and detection technologies.

“We are excited to announce version 5.0 Innovation Lab,” says Dr. Read Hayes, Director of the Loss Prevention Research Council, and a University of Florida Research Scientist. “We hope this lab will help our members and the retail industry make a dent in the increasing theft, fraud, and violence that occurs around the holidays.”

The LPRC has conducted research to support the evidence-based needs of loss prevention decision-makers since 2001. The organization first showcased their Innovation Lab 5.0 to their members during the IMPACT conference in October, an annual event hosted at the University of Florida designed to help retailers and solution partners better employ research tools to assess the real-world impact their loss prevention efforts have on sales, crime, and loss levels.

Retailers are free to schedule a tour of the lab to see the technologies in action. Dr. Read Hayes and his research team work to keep all solutions current and on the cutting-edge.

“The Innovation Lab is open year-round, and the technologies available are constantly being added, integrated, or updated. We welcome retailers to take a tour and learn about the newest ways to keep their stores and customers safe and secure.”

To learn more about the Loss Prevention Research Council and Innovation Lab, or to schedule a visit, please contact Kevin Tran, LPRC Marketing Specialist, at,

Gainesville, FL

The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), a research and results community that conducts research to develop evidence-based crime and loss control solutions, will host STRATEGY@ on October 2, 2018, an invitation-only meeting for LP/AP vice presidents from many of the largest retail chains, including Walmart, Best Buy, Bloomingdale’s, TJX Companies, Lowe’s, Walgreens, Kroger, GameStop, Dick’s, Verizon, DSW, Family Dollar, 7-Eleven, Advance Autoparts, eBay, Office Depot, Signet Jewelers, Nike, and more. The retail executives will interface with interdisciplinary researchers from the University of Florida to develop future crime-prevention strategies.

“We are very excited to be able to sit down with these leaders to brainstorm future directions, and needed research,” said University of Florida Research Scientist and LPRC Director Dr. Read Hayes. “With the ongoing collaboration between these executives and University of Florida researchers, we hope to lead the way in creating a more secure shopper experience, both physically and online.”

STRATEGY@ takes place during the LPRC’s annual IMPACT conference at the University of Florida, where the Council reveals and discusses their research results from the previous year with almost 400 asset protection executives on the UF campus. IMPACT’s STRATEGY@ theme is “Multi-Domain AP: Supporting Total Enterprise Success”, and will include the following topics presented by the University of Florida researchers:

  • Strategic Retailing: Interactive Physical and Online Dynamics
  • Safer-Shopping: Tackling Crime Risks and Fear of Crime
  • Reducing In-store and Corporate Digital Threats

The University of Florida’s Dr. Mike Scicchitano hopes this meeting will guide the most senior-level LP/AP leaders in making more evidence-based decisions within their organizations. “We aim to arm these executives with more knowledge, backed by comprehensive research from the University of Florida and the LPRC, to make a dent in the ever increasing theft, fraud, and violence.”

To learn more about the Loss Prevention Research Council or STRATEGY@, please contact Kevin Tran, LPRC Marketing Specialist, at