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By Detective III Joseph Hopkins, Los Angeles Police Department,
Commercial Crimes Division, Community Business Coordinator
In December 2007, at the direction of former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Chief of Police (COP), William Bratton, detectives from LAPD, Commercial Crimes Division (CCD), Southwest, Northeast, and Van Nuys Areas met with representatives of the Target Corporation to develop specific strategies in reducing crime in and around their stores. Stores in these areas were selected due to the high volume of crime in what Target called "Safeness Incidents" (property theft, theft from motor vehicles, etc.). Sharing information between the LAPD and Target stores regarding various thefts especially organized retail crime greatly improved as a result of this partnership.
After seeing the impact this newly formed partnership had in helping Target and LAPD work together to keep crime volume low, CCD assisted in the creation of a program called Los Angeles Area Organized Retail Crimes Association (LAAORCA) www.laaorca.org, which would bring various loss prevention store agents together from the Greater Los Angeles area to share and discuss what ORC crime trends they were seeing in their stores, how it was impacting the business community and the use of a real-time intelligence sharing website to keep retailers and law enforcement professionals aware of any threats.
In April 2009, LAAORCA was founded by a select group of loss prevention (LP) agents from CVS, GAP, JC Penney, Lowes, Safeway/Vons, Target, Walgreens, a representative from the National Retail Federation, and LAPD, CCD, Commanding Officer, Captain Bill Williams and Detective III Kent Oda. Captain Williams, Detective Oda and a retailer traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico and met with Kenneth Cox and Craig Davis from Target. Cox and Davis had created a similar retail program and provided invaluable guidance. Since April 2009, LAAORCA members have held general membership meetings and tailored a program where law enforcement and retailers can share information regarding ORC trends with one another on a continuous basis. This organization is propelled by CCD and not seen as a single retailer driven program.
LAAORCA now has well over 2,100 members representing over 350 companies and in excess of 120 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. LAAORCA held its very first training conference in 2010, with attendance over 600. The following years thereafter, LAAORCA has recorded attendance from 850 to 1000 each year, free to attendees, which provides an excellent venue for training and networking opportunities. In addition, LAAORCA held two golf tournaments, one softball tournament, and made a donation to an under privilege children's non-profit foundation.
Currently LAPD, CCD, Commanding Officer, Captain John Romero is the LAAORCA Law Enforcement Co-Chair and Albertsons/Von's/Pavilions, Area Asset Protection Manager, Mr. Ron Foss, is the LAAORCA Retail Co-Chair.
Prior to their retirement, Captain Bill Williams, Detective Kent Oda and several retail members envisioned the expansion of LAAORCA, by creating a regional partnership to address the underserved areas in the State of California. This led to the creation of the California Organized Retail Crimes Association (CAL-ORCA) www.cal-orca.org, which would address regional needs of the State, while LAAORCA and the other local ORCA programs continue to resolve issues within their area. Kent Oda continues to volunteer his time to facilitate and organize CAL-ORCA's creation.
LAPD, CCD, Detective Joe Hopkins is the CAL-ORCA Law Enforcement Region Representative as well as the LAAORCA Law Enforcement Liaison. He can be reached at Telephone No. (213) 486-8739 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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