Hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers around the country will gain instant access to information on retail crime, through a new partnership between retailers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Through the FBI’s Law Enforcement Online network, federal and local law enforcement will be able to directly connect to the retail industry’s Law Enforcement Retail Partnership Network, or LERPnet, a secure national database where retailers track and report retail crimes. The partnership will enable law enforcement agencies to gain central, immediate access to retail crimes, ranging from counterfeiting and organized retail crime to armed robberies and smash and grab burglary incidents. “Law enforcement agencies have always been a crucial ally in the fight against retail crime,” says Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor for NRF. “With direct access to the LERPnet system, millions of police officers will be better equipped to identify and track the most dangerous retail criminals, protecting both shoppers and retail employees.”
“This partnership between law enforcement and private industry provides for greater efficiency in intelligence gathering and dissemination, enabling increased arrests, prosecutions, and recoveries of stolen merchandise,” said David Johnson, section chief, Criminal Investigative Division at the FBI. “Intelligence goes hand in hand with partnerships. One good piece of intelligence can be the breakthrough needed to make a vital connection or solve a case. By arming the retail industry with the infrastructure necessary to share such intelligence, it is our hope that they, along with their partners in law enforcement, are better able to thwart criminal efforts and reduce subsequent losses.”
Retailers teamed with the FBI to launch LERPnet in 2007. Since its launch, over 118,000 incidents have been entered into the system. LERPnet’s subscriber base represents $814 billion in retail sales, with a combined 51,000 stores participating in the program. As the leader in retail loss prevention through leadership and public policy initiatives, NRF’s loss prevention team recently announced a partnership with the U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency, to monitor and track organized retail crime through its LERPnet system. Training for law enforcement officers will commence the first week of April, and special task forces to track crime in specific regions will continue to meet.