In an unprecedented move, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) have joined forces to tackle the growing issue of retail crime in the United States. This initiative, launched in September 2023, has seen district attorneys from across the country meeting with local retailers to discuss organized retail crime, habitual theft, and its impact on employees and communities.
The initiative, known as National Store Walk Month, has already facilitated 80 store walks where district attorneys’ offices and retailers have come together to discuss shared challenges and potential solutions to combat retail crime and violence. These meetings have provided a platform for local prosecutors and retail management teams to exchange insights, share best practices, and identify opportunities for collaborative efforts to fight crime.
Retailers are committed to doing everything they can to tackle retail crime and its impact on communities. It’s a complex issue that requires a multifaceted, strategic response. Building relationships and collaborating with local prosecutors is just one, albeit very important component to that response,” said RILA Sr. EVP of Retail Operations Lisa LaBruno. “We’re thrilled that such a large group of prosecutors serving cities and towns large and small signed up to participate and share in our commitment to keeping communities safe.”
The response to this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive, with strong demand from both district attorneys’ offices and retailers. As a result, the project has been extended through November 2023. To date, RILA member retailers have hosted 80 store walks as part of this ground-breaking initiative.
“Ulta Beauty strongly believes in the power of partnerships and by working together, we know we can positively impact the communities we serve,” says Julie Giblin, vice president loss prevention, Ulta Beauty. “As organized retail crime continues, retailers must work together with DA Offices, law enforcement, landlords, other retailers, solution providers and industry organizations to share learnings and insights to create change and progress. We appreciate the various District Attorneys for taking the time to engage with our loss prevention and store associates, learn about our crime mitigation strategies and discuss best practices that can aid criminal case prosecutions.”
Retail crime is not just a problem for store owners; it also impacts neighborhoods and leads to higher prices for consumers. By working together, retailers and prosecutors are showing their commitment to addressing this issue head-on. The initiative is a testament to the power of collaboration and partnership in tackling complex issues such as retail crime.
“This experience was more eye-opening than I thought it would be. Retailers are doing an incredible job on the front end, and this was a great opportunity to see how those of us in the criminal justice community can collaborate with retailers on the back end,” said Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith III, President of the National District Attorneys Association.
“Since 2002 The Home Depot has welcomed elected officials and local law enforcement for store walks to showcase the work of our associates. As issues like organized retail crime continue to grow, we are proud to partner with RILA and other retailers during National Store Walk Month to meet with prosecutors in our local communities and build relationships that will directly support our efforts to keep our stores, customers, associates, and communities safe,” said Scott Glenn, vice president of asset protection, The Home Depot.
As we move forward, it will be interesting to see the long-term impact of this initiative on retail crime rates. For now, the overwhelming participation and support for National Store Walk Month sends a clear message: when it comes to ensuring safe stores and vibrant communities, we’re all in this fight together.