Oregon Senate Votes to Create New Organized Retail Theft Task Force

For the last year, I’ve been part of the Oregon Organized Retail Crime Task Force, which includes key stakeholders Oregon District Attorneys Association (ODAA), United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. I helped with this task force in my capacity as CEO and President for SnowShoe, a leading company in technical solutions deployed at stores across the nation.

The US Chamber of Commerce reports that 57% of retailers have reported a rise in organized retail crime in the past year. These thefts often involve networks of criminals who target high-value merchandise, causing significant financial losses for retailers, increasing costs for consumers and an unsafe work environment for retail workers.

As I said when I joined the effort, leadership of this state-wide effort was critical. “Retailers are the lifeblood of our state and our nation, and we are joining with law enforcement nationwide to make the retail experience safer for both retailers and their customers. We are proud to be part of this unified effort.”

Today, I’m excited to announce that the Oregon Senate has passed Senate Bill 900. The bill establishes and funds a $5 million local grant program to support organized retail theft enforcement. This is the second of three bills recommended by the Oregon ORC Task Force. This formalizes the Task Force efforts and hopefully will address retail crime with serious enforceable actions that make retail stores safer and better for shoppers and retailers.

Here’s the big announcement (and an excerpt below):

SALEM, Ore – Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 900 with bipartisan support. This legislation establishes the Task Force on Organized Retail Theft geared towards making Oregon businesses and communities safer. The Task Force will be administered by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission charged with creating recommendations for changes to state laws or policies that will assist Oregon’s law enforcement and local communities respond to and reduce organized retail theft.

“Organized retail theft is a growing threat to Oregon businesses, their customers, and innocent bystanders. This task force gives me hope that we will be able to quickly and effectively take on this crisis and make sure every Oregonian feels safe and secure when they are out shopping with their families,” said co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety Senator Janeen Sollman (D – Hillsboro).

“We have a clear mandate from the people of Oregon to make our communities safer. I’m so glad the Senate could return to work in time to create this important task force to take on dangerous criminal behavior threatening Oregonians across the state,” said Senator James I. Manning Jr. (D – Eugene & Veneta), a retired member of Oregon law enforcement.