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By Dennis Rodrigue, Crime Prevention Officer, Sparks Police Department
In 2008, the Sparks Police Department, along with a network of Loss Prevention/Asset Protection Managers and Supervisors, created a partnership in Northern Nevada. This partnership was named the A.L.E.R.T. (Area Law Enforcement & Retailers Team) program. The goal of the network was designed to share information about the criminal elements that target the theft of retail products from the stores in the Reno/ Sparks area and surrounding communities.
As a network, the retailers share their experiences about criminals, active crime sprees and what trends they are seeing, and pass this on to other retailers, down the block, across town, and even regionally. Sharing the tricks of the trade, being used by today's criminals, and finding ways to reduce these thefts by pinpointing the criminals and their behaviors.
Monthly meetings were established to share information and discuss any issues relevant to the Retail Loss Prevention/Law Enforcement. These meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday of every month at the Sparks Police Department. Along with these meetings, there has been the sharing of information via E-mail, as events occurred.
In the spring of 2009, the A.L.E.R.T. program consisted of 20 retail participants. As of September 1, 2014, there are over 250 retail, security director and law enforcement contacts spanning no less than 4 states. Due to the growth of the A.L.E.R.T. program and the need for an up to date means of instantaneously sharing information, the concept of converting the A.L.E.R.T. program over to the Northern Nevada Organized Retail Crime Alliance (NNORCA) was formed.
As the A.L.E.R.T. program converts over to the Northern Nevada Organized Retail Crime Alliance (NNORCA) it will continue serving retailers and security directors who partner with law enforcement, state wide, to aim at reducing property crimes, keeping shoppers safer and lessening their chances of becoming victims. NNORCA has been formed to reach out to all Nevada law enforcement agencies and corporate retail partners, realizing the need to combine efforts to combat the growing problem of Organized Retail Crime (ORC).
A NNORCA website has been developed to allow NNORCA members to share intelligence relating to the businesses and communities we serve (www.NNORCA.org). This shared information includes, but is not limited to, crimes of organized theft, robberies, counterfeiting, check and credit card fraud, prescription fraud, identity theft and other scams. In short, any type of organized crime may be shared through this site.
NNORCA is a statewide crime-fighting partnership focused on the issues relevant to Northern Nevada communities. This alliance allows retailers and law enforcement to communicate about criminal activity impacting businesses on a real-time basis realizing the need to combine efforts to combat the growing problem of Organized Retail Crime (ORC).
The NNORCA website will not only enable members to communicate about these crimes, but it will also save the information in a written and mapped format, searchable by crime and suspect type. This gives all members the ability to search the website to connect cases and establish patterns and trends. In addition, members may upload photographs and crime bulletins to share with the NNORCA community.
"The use of the task force approach to combating crime, coupled with successful partnerships within industry, is seen by the FBI as one of the most effective and efficient tools by which to identify, disrupt and dismantle any criminal enterprise. That strategy is working."
- Dave Johnson, Section Chief, Criminal Investigation Division, FBI
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