History of Cal-ORCA
Founded in 2012, The California Organized Retail Crimes Association (CAL-ORCA) is an organization dedicated to fostering partnerships between law enforcement professionals and loss prevention professionals to provide training, combat Organized Retail Crime (ORC) and other crimes impacting the business community. Recently, CAL-ORCA Partnered with California Retailers Association to expand efforts to combat ORC, aiding in the sharing of cross-jurisdictional information to identify, disrupt, and apprehend ORC suspects in California and other states. Read more.
ORC is defined as the Theft/Fraud activity conducted with the intent to convert illegally obtained merchandise, cargo, cash, or cash equivalent into financial gain (no personal use), where/when the following elements are present:
Theft/Fraud is conducted:
- over multiple occurrences
- and/or in multiple stores
- and/or in multiple jurisdictions
- by two or more persons, or an individual acting in dual roles (booster & fence)
Groups, gangs, and sometimes individuals are engaged in illegally obtaining merchandise through both theft and fraud in substantial quantities as part of a criminal enterprise. These crime rings generally consist of "boosters" - who methodically steal merchandise from retail stores - and fence operators who convert the product to cash or drugs as part of the criminal enterprise. Sophisticated criminals have even found ways to switch UPC bar codes on merchandise, so they ring up differently at checkout, commonly called “ticket switching.” Others use stolen or cloned credit cards to obtain merchandise or produce fictitious receipts to return products back to retail stores.
Precise measurements of the true scope of this problem is difficult to determine given the inherently secretive nature of these criminal operators. It is estimated that ORC costs retailers in excess of $700,000.00 per $1 Billion in sales.
In many instances, organized retail crime groups target several retailers in one day moving from state to state stealing and reselling the merchandise. These groups often steal thousands of dollars worth of merchandise at a time with the intent to resell it for profit, buy drugs, or fund terrorist/illicit activities.
Source: National Retail Federation (NRF)
- To stop or disrupt illicit ORC networks from committing crimes
- To develop new and innovative ways to combat property related crimes
- To educate the public on the problems associated with crime
- To utilize advanced technology to enhance the sharing of information to members
- To conduct training conferences and symposiums to educate law enforcement and the private sector regarding current and emerging crime trends (2022 conference and training coming soon!)
- To encourage members to meet regularly to share high-level intelligence with one another
- To unite businesses, city officials, and law enforcement in a plan to reduce crime and build awareness, in order to create safer areas to live, work, and shop
- To encourage retail competitors to collaborate with law enforcement to resolve ORC and other criminal investigations
The California Retailers Association (CRA) and the California Organized Retail Crime Association (Cal-ORCA) have joined forces to combat Organized Retail Crime (ORC) in the state. ORC is a growing problem not only for businesses but for California communities. ORC fosters a host of illegal activity, including the recruitment of youth, homeless and others into theft crimes. These networks frequently use their proceeds to finance other illegal activity including drug smuggling and human trafficking.
ORC involves theft or fraudulent activity conducted with the intent to convert illegally obtained goods into financial gain. Typically, ORC networks organize multiple theft rings at a number of retail businesses and employ a “fencing” operation to sell the illegally obtained goods. The digital revolution and subsequent growth in online shopping and social networking, along with increasingly lax enforcement of property crimes, have exacerbated large scale criminal theft, contributed to significant business losses for large and small retailers and greatly impacted the industry’s ability to provide jobs and keep their doors open to serve their communities.
ORC is on the rise nationwide, but California is recognized as a “hot spot” for these activities. Now more than ever, we need enforcement tools to fight back against these increasingly sophisticated, complex criminal networks.
CRA, in collaboration with Cal-ORCA, is working to combat ORC in California through legislative and local measures that will empower public safety, in collaboration with the business community to stop existing crime rings and deter future large-scale networks.
General Qualification for Membership
- Applicant must be of legal age in the State of California.
- Applicant must not have a criminal record of an adult felony conviction or its equivalent in a legal jurisdiction nor an outstanding felony or equivalent criminal charge from any law enforcement agency of any jurisdiction.
- Having met all other qualifications, no applicant will be denied membership because of sex, color, race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin.
- Only individuals shall be eligible for membership.
- No applicant for membership may be admitted unless such applicant meets the requirements.
A person shall be eligible for membership if he/she is an employee of:
- The employee engaged in the prevention, detection, analysis, investigation, apprehension, education about or prosecution of retail, fraud, or other crimes at their company of employment, i.e. loss prevention, fraud investigator…
- Any subdivision of government law enforcement officers, prosecutors, or related public officials, who, within their agency or department, responsible or assisting in the investigation, investigative training, prevention, analysis, apprehension, and/or prosecution of retail or financial crimes.
- Any retired law enforcement personnel who honorably retired, in good standing with their Department, and actively providing their subject matter expertise to the Association are eligible.
- Important note: A Private Investigator (P.I.) and/or employees employed at a P.I. Firm are generally not eligible. Administrators will review each P.I. application for approval consideration on a case-by-case basis. The concern of individuals using the Association’s membership for soliciting work from members.
- A current verifiable Company or Department email address must be utilized to register. Personal email addresses will not be accepted.
- There is no cost to join and participate.
CAL-ORCA is a statewide crime-fighting partnership. This association allows retailers and law enforcement to communicate about criminal activity impacting businesses on a real-time basis while preventing other partners from being victimized