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Q&A with Dara Riordan, President of FaceFirst

Employers must comply with several new and existing workplace violence laws in 2024. How do you think facial recognition technology can help them protect employees?

Retailers need proactive tools that make stores safer for employees and customers. California's new law requires employers to have a workplace violence notification system. It also requires employers to investigate and track all threats of violence, including those made on social media.

A FaceFirst client recently received a social media threat of gun violence posted by an unknown individual. Using FaceFirst's investigation tools and a social media image, the retailer formed a threat profile for the man in less than two hours. He had a record of violent crimes against another retailer. FaceFirst match events provided investigators with the precise locations, dates, and times of the man's recent store visits. They reviewed his visits and confirmed he'd had a verbal altercation with an employee. They enrolled the man in their FaceFirst system. When he entered one of the retailer's stores eight days later, FaceFirst matched his face and sent an immediate notification: "Do not approach-call 9-1-1." The man was arrested without incident, though an illegal firearm was found in his car. Authorities issued a chainwide restraining order, and the man has not returned to any of the retailer's stores since.

What are retail executives who use facial recognition technology in their stores telling others about their experiences?

FaceFirst's rapid adoption has been driven by retailers making store safety their top priority. Here's a recent quote from a top 10 retailer: "Before FaceFirst, we had no way to take real-time action during life safety events. We had no true visibility about where, when, and how many times repeat offenders were in our stores. Now, FaceFirst is the cornerstone of our store safety and asset protection program. I don't know of a better tool that helps us be more proactive and mitigate threats in our stores. This technology has advanced so much, and you're going to be way behind the curve without it."

FaceFirst's face matching technology alerts instantly when known threats enter. Our real-time notifications help you keep your valued employees and customers safer. Face matching software lets our clients know who their biggest recidivists are. They can quickly identify ORC rings and build cases to shut them down. Our technology can do in minutes what would take humans days or weeks-if at all-using standard CCTV. FaceFirst lets retailers narrow their scope for efficient threat management.

Based in Austin, Texas, FaceFirst is a global leader in fast, accurate, and scalable face matching systems with high levels of security, privacy, and accountability. Learn more at facefirst.com.


A preview of NRF 2024: Retail's Big Show

Retail Gets Real episode 330: NRF gets ready for the biggest event of the year

Tens of thousands of retailers of all kinds are getting ready to come together for NRF 2024: Retail's Big Show, Jan. 14-16 in New York City's Javits Center, and this year's event will be better than ever. On this episode of NRF's Retail Gets Real podcast, we speak with Eric Olson, VP of education at NRF, and Susan Newman, SVP of events at NRF, about what to expect at the show this year, from can't-miss sessions to new and immersive experiences to the latest technology on display.

Not only will attendees hear from the biggest changemakers -
19 keynote sessions, the most ever at an NRF show, feature big names from Martha Stewart and Drew Barrymore to Magic Johnson and Marc Benioff - they'll also have a choice of even more programming across 11 stages.

There's more than
300,000 square feet of Expo space with over 1,000 exhibitors; the NRF Innovation Lab, featuring future-forward tech that's new to market; the Startup Hub with the newest, most promising companies; and an expanded Foodservice Innovation Zone with immersive activations that drop you in the middle of real-world demonstrations of the newest food and beverage technology.

Newman says it's key to prepare your days at the show in advance. She recommends attendees download the app and use it to plan ahead: "Looking at the sessions, figuring out where you want to be, when. Also, picking which technologies you're curious about, what companies you want to go see, and mapping that out."

Listen to the full episode to hear more about what attendees can expect to see, hear and do at the event. If you haven't booked your pass yet, there's still time to register and attend NRF 2024: Retail's Big Show.


The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

America's 'Coast-to-Coast' ORC Scourge Demands Federal Action
State and local governments have taken some action, but Congress needs to step up

Organized crime blamed for scourge of shoplifting, smash-and-grab flash mobs

Critics fault soft-on-crime liberal leaders, demand federal action

Rampant shoplifting and organized retail theft, often
unchecked by local governments and allowed to grow into a multibillion-dollar industry, have major retailers turning to Washington for help. Legislation to resolve the problem has yet to turn the tide of the shoplifting scourge.

Congress is considering ways to combat organized theft, which is eating into retailers' bottom lines and causing headaches for shoppers, who increasingly find everyday items locked behind glass. The problem is coast to coast.

"From our perspective, things are not really changing.
We've seen [organized retail crime] cases continue to grow not only in volume and velocity but in size and scope, year over year," Scott Glenn, vice president for asset protection at Home Depot, told The Washington Times.

Republican lawmakers say
liberal elected leaders and prosecutors encourage lawlessness with lenient criminal justice policies.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, responded to smash-and-grab thefts in 2021 by calling for stiffer prosecutions and more state funding to target the problem. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate, signed a bill last year that created second-degree and third-degree felony crimes for people who commit repeated thefts within a short period.

Retailers are lobbying Congress to pass the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act, establishing the Organized Retail Crime Coordination Center through the Department of Homeland Security. The center would coordinate federal efforts, establish relationships with state and local law enforcement and set up a secure system to share data and spot trends.  washingtontimes.com

DAs Nationwide Continue to Ramp Up Fight Against Retail Theft
New Placer County, Calif. initiative aims to crack down on retail theft

New signs available for businesses county-wide promote the Placer County District Attorney's recently formed Retail Theft Vertical Prosecution Program.

A new campaign by the Placer County District Attorney's Office hopes to combat retail theft by
raising awareness of a county-wide initiative designed to catch and prosecute thieves.

Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire unveiled new posters Wednesday that he said businesses can put in their windows. The posters read, in part: "
This business is protected by Placer County's retail theft initiative."

"They are absolutely designed for the would-be thief to know, walking into a business in Placer County, that we won't stand for it, that
they will get reported, suspects will be arrested, and they will be prosecuted," Gire said.

Gire said the signs promote his office's recently formed Retail Theft Vertical Prosecution Program. Created in October 2023 through $2 million in state grant funding, the program consists of a group of three people - a deputy district attorney, a district attorney investigator and a crime analyst - who are dedicated to investigating retail theft crimes.

To have a dedicated team start to finish increases, one: efficiency," Gire said. "It really allows the attorney, the investigator, the crime analyst to know the cases inside and out. And it allows those same people to know sort of the organized retail networks that are operating within our county and outside of our county so that we can try and cast as wide a net as possible to catch thieves that come into our county."  kcra.com

The 'Dark Shadow' of Shoplifting Continues to Plague Los Angeles
To solve the problem, the city must return to the mindset that 'stealing is a crime!'

Op-Ed: Shoplifting Hurts Everyone

A dark shadow looms over Los Angeles as rampant, shameless shoplifting plagues local businesses, leaving a trail of demoralization in its wake.

Research by
Richard C. Hollinger, a criminology professor at the University of Florida, highlights the correlation between shoplifting and small-business closures. According to his findings, businesses in areas with higher rates of shoplifting are more likely to shut down, unable to absorb the financial blows of theft and the subsequent need to invest in security measures.

the psychological toll on business owners cannot be overstated. A study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that the fear of crime significantly affects business owners' well-being and job satisfaction. Constantly worrying about theft undermines their passion for entrepreneurship and erodes the sense of community that thriving local businesses often foster.

Officers are caught in a perpetual game of cat and mouse, facing demoralization as they witness a continuous cycle of arrests followed by
swift releases due to lax prosecution. Academic insights from the Police Executive Research Forum underscore the strain on police resources caused by organized retail crime.

The rampant shoplifting epidemic in Los Angeles is not just
a concern for business owners trying to make ends meet. It reverberates through the entire community, impacting customers who face higher prices and diminished services and police officers struggling to maintain order amidst the rising tide of organized retail crime.

To address this issue,
a collaborative effort is required - one that involves policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and the community at large working together to find comprehensive solutions that safeguard the economic vitality and social fabric of Los Angeles. But most importantly, it involves a radical shift in mindset - stealing is a crime!  labusinessjournal.com

Stockton, CA: Lawmaker releases referendum targeting parts of Prop 47
A state lawmaker from Stockton released a new referendum aimed at tackling retail theft. "I've seen it done in my hometown of Stockton. Enough is enough. For us, it's all hands on deck. We need to do something. We should have done it yesterday, but we're on it today," said Democratic Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton). The lawmaker said the video of a man going through shelves of tobacco products, tossing items into a trash can before being grabbed by a 7-Eleven employee and taken to the ground led him to say enough is enough. "It went viral. A person coming in and stealing and getting hurt. We don't want that to happen," said Villapudua. Villapudua is introducing a referendum aimed at addressing concerns related to Prop 47. "This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. This is a statewide national issue that we are trying to solve, and I don't have all the answers. What we turned in today was basically a spot bill to get this ball rolling," said Villapudua. A graphic he released said the referendum will revise the $950 property value threshold for misdemeanor, saying it has fueled a market of petty and repeat offenses with zero-to-low accountability. He said it will also support diversion programs for likely offenders. "We're addressing the root of problems not just putting people away. We're addressing the root of problems," said Villapudua.  abc10.com

NYC 'Significantly Curbed Crime in 2023'
NYC Mayor Adams says NYC remains the 'safest big city in America'

Mayor Adams, NYPD say gun seizures in 2023 curbed shootings, murders, other NYC violent crime
New York remains the "safest big city in America," Mayor Adams crowed Wednesday as he and the NYPD said efforts to get guns off the street and enforce quality of life significantly curbed crime in 2023.

Murders fell by 11.9%, to 386 reported in 2023 compared to 438 in 2022, police data shows. When 2023 is compared to 2022, rapes were down 10.5%, robberies were down 3.1%, grand larceny thefts were down 2.5% and burglaries were down 13.1%, the city's crime data shows.

number of shooting victims on city streets - who are counted separately from the underlying crimes that led them to be shot - in 2023 declined by 27%, to 1,150 from the 1,566 shooting victims reported in 2022.

Adams said the data shows
police are bringing order to city streets. "The results are clear - crime is down, jobs are up, tourism is back," Adams said at a One Police Plaza news conference. "But our work is not done. We're not spiking the ball. We're not saying, 'Mission Accomplished.'

A 1
5% increase in the number of stolen cars and a 6% jump in assaults kept the overall crime rate from dropping further, the data shows. The commissioner said the NYPD's continued "efforts to combat gun violence" - which resulted in the seizure of more than 13,500 guns in the last two years - created "ripple effects" that helped drive down other felonies.  nydailynews.com

Crime Remains High Compared to Pre-COVID Benchmarks
Opinion: Dems want you to think crime crisis is over. Here's why they're wrong
After reaching a record-high number of homicides in Democrat-run cities across the country,
2023 experienced about 13% fewer than the previous year. ABC News framed the statistic around public polling that shows Americans are deeply concerned with crime. Citing a recent Gallup poll, crime analyst Jeff Asher told ABC News, "Seventy-something percent of Americans believe crime is rising this year. And seventy-something percent of Americans in this case just happen to be wrong."

New York-based journalist Ahmed Baba used the ABC News piece to pretend fears about crime are unfounded, claiming there's a "stark disconnect between how a lot of Americans feel and what's actually happening. Disinformation is distorting our perception of reality."

crime is high and we aren't wrong to feel concerned. We're simply looking at our cities the way we're supposed to. Context is key to understanding crime statistics. We're seeing fewer homicides when compared to a historically high number of murders between 2020 and 2022. That detail is important.

Surveys reveal that American concerns about high crime rates persist, primarily because
current figures remain elevated compared to the pre-COVID era. During that time, law enforcement was fully funded and had broader operational latitude. And we can't forget that in a bid to deflect responsibility for the crime surge, a consequence of their defund police strategy, Democrats originally blamed the uptick in criminal activity to COVID. Therefore, it is logical to look towards 2018 and 2019 as benchmark years for a more accurate comparison of crime rates. And the numbers are less impressive when you do that. foxnews.com

Another State Grapples with Retail Theft Surge Fueled By Addiction
'South Burlington Police data shows a 48% increase in retail theft since 2020'

Vermont: Police, lawmakers look to stop revolving door of retail theft
Retail theft is up across much of the state, according to the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association. The group says businesses are reporting several thefts each week and thousands of dollars in monthly losses. The South Burlington Police are among the departments on the frontline of responding to the daily onslaught

South Burlington Police data shows a 48% increase in retail theft since 2020, logging more than 400 incidents in 2023 alone. Poverty and mental health are factors, but SBPD Police Chief Shawn Burke says most offenders are stealing to feed drug addictions.

"They're somehow exchanging that, whether it's
selling the product themselves to make cash to pay cash for drugs or they're trading that product with drug traffickers for drugs," Burke said.

South Burlington Police in November launched a new initiative to crack down on retail theft. Over 10 days, officers swarmed hotspots like Lowes at the UMall. Plain-clothed officers in unmarked cars worked closely with employees to identify shoplifters. It resulted in
17 arrests and 10 charges of retail theft. wcax.com

'Sophisticated' Shoplifting a Global Problem
Europe: Supermarket boss says thieves are becoming more 'sophisticated' as losses from shoplifting exceed profits
Shoplifters are fast becoming the biggest thorn in the side of retailers, with a Dutch supermarket adding its voice to a global clamor of chains sounding the alarm on spiking rates in crime.

Retail chain Jumbo is bracing to take a €100 million ($110 million) hit from shoplifting last year, exceeding an expected profit of around €80 million ($88 million), the group said Wednesday during its earnings release, NL Times reported via news agency ANP.

That represents about
1% of the chain's turnover for 2023, in what chief executive Ton van Veen described as "not a healthy situation." He called for politicians to address a swelling tide of shoplifting that is gripping major supermarkets amid a cost of living crisis and technological changes at checkouts.

Van Veen said his supermarket planned to
up the presence of security guards at its 725 stores while increasing the use of camera surveillance. fortune.com

San Francisco sees decrease in holiday crime, city leaders say
Compared to last year, San Francisco leaders say visitors packed places like Union Square this holiday shopping season and despite more people, car break-ins and retail theft were down.

Maine's deadliest mass shooting propels homicides to new high in the state

Charlotte, NC councilman proposes task force to combat youth crime


Retail Rocked by Unexpected CEO Exits in 2023
'42% of all announced retail CEO exits last year were unplanned or unexpected'

Korn Ferry says retailers had a spike of unplanned CEO exits last year

Is it harder for one person to have all the skills needed to be CEO? Abrupt exits and a notable boomerang were among the retail c-suite changes in 2023.

Unexpected CEO exits at retail companies picked up in the final months of last year along with a continued trend of women being replaced with men, according to executive search firm Korn Ferry's quarterly analysis of job changes.

42% of all announced retail CEO exits last year were unplanned or unexpected, defined so because no successor was named or the departure was filled with a committee that serves as "the office of the CEO."

That accelerated at the end of the year as about
64%, or seven of the 11 CEO exits in the fourth quarter, were unplanned and that was more than three times the abrupt departures in the last three months of the prior year.

The retail industry's CEO comings and goings last year
speak to the increasing complexity of the role, said John Long, Korn Ferry's North America retail sector leader based in Dallas.

It's getting harder and harder for one person to have all the skills to be CEO," Long said. "That's why we're seeing more chief customer officers and chief operating officers augment the CEO's ability to be more focused on critical aspects of the business."

A local surprise departure included Matt Furlong from Grapevine-based GameStop and Rosalind Brewer at Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Among the 47 departing CEOs last year, men also had longer tenures, an average of 7.7 years for men to 3.7 years for women.  dallasnews.com

Retailers Becoming 'More Tactical' in Return Strategy
What Retailers Are Doing to Make Returns Less Annoying
Recent data from the National Retail Federation reveals that last year,
shoppers returned 16.5% of items purchased online and in stores - an increase from the 2019 return rate. In light of this, retailers are expected to shift their focus from showrooms to stockrooms, addressing the influx of returned goods.

We're heading for a trillion dollar problem here," Tom Enright, a retail analyst at research firm Gartner, told WSJ last month. He said businesses forfeit about half of their profit margins due to returns, factoring in the expenses associated with both selling the item and handling the return process.

With that in mind, retailers are getting more tactical about how they approach returns. The shipping and mailing company Pitney Bowes introduced a returns drop-off network in collaboration with PackageHub. According to the company, the network enables cost-free returns without the need for a box or label at
nearly 1,000 locations, and there are plans for hundreds more to be launched soon across the country.

Then there are
retailers who are looking to do away with returns completely by simply telling customers to "keep it." In fact, according to data from returns services firm goTRG, the adoption of these policies has risen to 59% among retailers, a significant increase from the 26% reported last year.

Some retailers opt to
impose return charges on customers who are not members of their loyalty program, while providing free returns for loyal customers. H&M is one such retailer, as reported by PYMNTS, and this strategy is designed to enhance their loyalty program. pymnts.com

NRF: 7 retail industry predictions for 2024
Artificial intelligence's influence continues to grow, consumers demand sustainable actions, and the customer experience remains more important than ever

2024 will be a breakout year for delivery drones

BJ's kicking off 2024 expansion

TGI Fridays Abruptly Closes 36 Restaurants

Quarterly Results

Walgreens Boots Alliance Q1 U.S. retail pharmacy comp's up 8.1%, sales up 6.4%, Retail comp's down 5%, sales down 6%, Pharmacy comp's up 13.1%, sales up 10.7%, sales up 10%

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What's Small And Round And Makes Lots Of Sound?
The Tick-R-Tape Tag and Super Mini Tape Tag!

The Tick-R-Tape Tag can be used alone with just the base or secured to the package with conductive tape or a conductive label, creating additional alarm capabilities. It can replace wire package wraps and "keepers". When the merchandise goes through the POS, the associate keeps the tag and leaves the base and tape on the package to go home with the customer for removal later, with no damaged packaging. Through testing and research with the LPRC, it has been established that the customers are not bothered by that and actually feel better knowing the package had not been opened by others. See the report on our website, or in the LPRC knowledge Center.

This tag has 6-alarm capability when using 2-pieces of conductive tape and can self-alarm out the door while activating the EAS pedestals. Its 98 dBl alarm can be heard throughout the store. The Tick-R-Tape Tag uses our handheld decoder to deactivate the alarm before removing it from the package. This will prevent unauthorized detachers from being used. The Tick-R-Tape Tag has unlimited life due to having a replaceable battery. It is water resistant and cannot be "jumped". With our new modifications, the Tick-R-Tape Tag can be used with the new Gen6 SP on large, boxed goods like vacuums.

The Super Mini Tape Tag can protect most items, with or without using the conductive tape or label. Prevent shoplifters from taking the product out of the box and leaving JUST the box! Use the Super Mini Tape Tag to keep all the components together. It is perfect for small fragrances and electronics.

The Tick-R-Tape Tag can provide up to 630% more available shelf space compared to keepers and can provide up to 33% more available shelf space compared to small wire package wraps. Both the Tick-R-Tape Tag and the Super Mini Tape Tag can be placed anywhere on the package to optimize merchandising and visual appeal.

Reduce shrinkage, increase available shelf space, reduce check-out time by up to 50%, and reduce labor at the front end.

We may not stop shoplifting in its tracks, we can deter, displace, and slow down thieves from targeting your stores by using the CIS Tape Tag solutions.

Call 772-287-7999 or visit www.cisssinc.com for more information on these and other solutions from CIS Security solutions.








Immediate Impact of New SEC Cybersecurity Rules
Markets Promptly See Effect of New SEC Cybersecurity Disclosure Rules
On December 18, 2023, prior to the trading session,
VF Corp. issued a press release disclosing that the company was investigating unauthorized activity on its computer systems - and that the intrusion had encrypted some systems and compromised data.

The SEC Cited a Number of Factors that Magnify Cybersecurity Risks for Investors:

Increased digitalization of operations;
Growth of remote work;
Ability of criminals to monetize cybersecurity incidents;
Use of digital payments; and
Increasing reliance on third party IT service providers.

As the parent company of numerous iconic apparel brands, such as
The North Face and Vans, VF Corp. went on to warn that this cyberattack had disrupted its ability to fulfill e-commerce orders and could not yet say whether the company's finances would be affected. With the last shopping week before Christmas in full swing, investors fled at the opening bell, pushing VF Corp.'s stock price lower by $1.55 per share, for a loss of more than 7.78 percent that day.

VF Corp.'s disclosure was
the most recent example of the SEC's new disclosure rules in action. Those rules were first proposed in March of 2022, based on the agency's finding that "cybersecurity risks have increased" due to the increase in commerce occurring digitally as well as other factors.

The push for specific cybersecurity and incident reporting rules arose from the SEC's conclusion that - even after more than a decade of agency guidance - t
he SEC "continued to believe that investors need information on registrants' cybersecurity risk management and strategy, and that uniform, comparable, easy to locate disclosure [would] not emerge absent new rules."  lexology.com

The Salary of a Chief Security Officer

The 22nd annual Security and Compliance Compensation report gives industry professionals insight into what their peers are earning.

AdvertisementAs security hiring trends evolve, it can be difficult to ascertain the average salary of a chief security officer, even when these metrics are helpful tools for increasing employee retention and job satisfaction.

The Foushée Group, a leading compensation research company has produced the
Security & Compliance Compensation Survey annually for the last 22 years. The survey is designed to provide accurate and timely compensation information on 78 security and compliance positions to companies whom seek to market price their positions to the national market.

The survey input is not based on self-reporting, rather the survey questionnaire is sent to human resources (HR) professionals who review the provided job descriptions and match their jobs to the survey positon descriptions. All data reported is aligned with the Department of Justice safe harbor guidelines for reporting compensation information. No individual company data is identifiable; the data is reported in weighted averages, median, percentile distributions and other pertinent data. Participating companies range in revenue size from under 500 million to more than 250 billion. securitymagazine.com

That's a First: Customers Blamed for Company Data Breach
But it underscores the importance of changing passwords often

Genetic testing giant 23andMe is reportedly turning the blame back on its customers for its recent data breach

The hackers used previously compromised login credentials to access the data.

Over the past few months, genetic testing giant 23andMe has been investigating exactly
how the data of millions of its users was compromised in a data breach back in October.

Now, after being hit by a series of class action lawsuits from victims of the breach, the company is reportedly turning the blame back to the users - telling them
they should have been more cautious about recycling their login credentials.

Users negligently recycled and failed to update their passwords following these past security incidents, which are unrelated to 23andMe," the company told a group of victims in a letter initially reported by TechCrunch. "Therefore, the incident was not a result of 23andMe's alleged failure to maintain reasonable security measures under the CPRA." The CPRA - otherwise known as the California Privacy Rights Act - strengthened security measures for consumers to stop businesses from sharing their personal information.

The hackers initially got access to around 14,000 accounts using previously compromised login credentials, but they then used a feature of 23andMe to gain access to almost half of the company's user base, or about 7 million accounts, the company previously told Business Insider. businessinsider.com

15 open-source cybersecurity tools you'll wish you'd known earlier

Seven ways to tackle the ALPHV/BlackCat threat







Shipping Speed Isn't As Important to Online Shoppers As Shipping Cost
Free shipping is more important to shoppers than same-day delivery: Forrester

The costs of implementing same-day and next-day delivery might not be worth it given the level of consumer interest in the service.

Amid retailers' investment in order fulfillment,
some services may be more worth investing in than others, according to a Forrester report shared with Retail Dive. Same-day and next-day delivery, in particular, are costly for retailers to implement and are not strongly desired by most shoppers, the report found.

Three-fourths of U.S. online consumers said free shipping is among the most important criteria they consider when deciding where to shop online, but only a fifth of U.S. online consumers cited next-day or same-day delivery as one of the most critical factors in choosing a retailer from which to buy.

Nearly half
(47%) of respondents said the option for same-day delivery has no impact at all on which retailer or brand they'll buy, Forrester said. And while grocery seems like a good fit for fast delivery, nearly half (47%) of U.S. consumers prefer to shop in-store for groceries to touch and see the products before purchasing them. retaildive.com

Amazon & Other Internet Platforms Starting to 'Decay'?
From Amazon to Facebook and Google, here's how platforms can 'decay'
If you feel like some important
places on the internet have been getting worse, you're not alone.

In 2023, there were
federal lawsuits accusing Amazon and Google of exploiting their monopolies; streaming services offered less content for more money; and a site-wide protest on Reddit occurred after a new policy threatened what many considered to be identity of the website.

Social media networks are now filled with ads and recommendations for stores and products you know you never asked for. And then there's whatever is happening at X, formerly known as Twitter, under Elon Musk.

Tech journalist and science fiction writer Cory Doctorow coined a term to describe this process:
ens***ification. Doctorow joined All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro to explain what this term means, and why the internet seems to be on this downward slump.

Read the transcript here: npr.org

'Significant' Expansion of TikTok Shop
TikTok Eyes $17.5 Billion Shopping Business on Amazon's Turf
ByteDance Ltd.'s TikTok
aims to grow the size of its US e-commerce business tenfold to as much as $17.5 billion this year, according to people familiar with the matter, posing a bigger threat to Amazon.com Inc.

TikTok's ambitious target
sets up a clash not just with Amazon but also fellow Chinese-owned outfits Temu and Shein, who've been making big strides among younger American shoppers. Unlike its two rival discounters, TikTok is counting on its social media reach and the appeal of viral videos to hook buyers.

TikTok was last year
on track to amass around $20 billion in global gross merchandise value, with Southeast Asia contributing the bulk of sales through its platform, Bloomberg News reported. Now, the company is seeking to expand sales in the US and Latin America, where it's planning to launch the e-commerce operation in coming months, two people familiar with the matter said.  bloomberg.com

Chinese version of TikTok makes instant refunds mandatory amid e-commerce rivalry

Opinion: Beware the 'advantages' of online shopping








Michigan Attorney General Announces Arrest in $1M Meijer mPerks Theft
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today the arrest and arraignment of Nicholas Mui, 22, of Grand Haven, in connection to the systemic theft and sale of account access information tied to "mPerks" accounts.

Nicholas Mui obtained login credentials from a separate data breach, cross-referenced those credentials for access success with the mPerks infrastructure, and then
sold those login credentials on the internet for the wrongful use of buyers.

It is not believed that Meijer's infrastructure was directly breached, but that this was a case of "credential stuffing," whereby account credentials obtained in large scale data breaches are batched and sold.

Meijer was alerted to these thefts by consumer complaints to the company in April and May of 2023. The customers complained of vanishing points on their accounts, prompting Meijer to contact the Fraud Investigation Section of the Michigan State Police.
A joint investigation commenced, comprised of Meijer corporate investigators, the Michigan State Police Fraud Investigation Section, and the FORCE Team. In September, a search warrant was executed and over $400,000 in cash and cryptocurrency were seized in connection to this alleged operation.

Meijer has reinstated the full previous balance of accrued points to affected customers suffering verified thefts,
at a corporate loss currently calculated to exceed $1,000,000.

Mui was arraigned in the 59th District Court in Kent County on December 27th on one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony, one count of Use of a Computer to Commit a Crime, a 20-year felony, and seven counts of Identity Theft, each count a 5-year felony.  michigan.gov

Folsom, CA: Folsom Police arrest 21 people in connection to $17K worth of stolen retail merchandise
An organized law enforcement operation in Folsom led to the arrest of 21 people related to $17K worth of merchandise stolen from various retail stores. "Shoplifting and organized retail theft continues to be an issue nationwide," Folsom Police Department said in a social media post. "Locally, Folsom Police Department took 159 reports of retail theft in December 2023 alone." In response to what police call a rise in crime, Folsom PD collaborated with California Highway Patrol (CHP) to set up four "retail theft blitz operations" throughout December that targeted retail businesses within the city. The operations reportedly resulted in the apprehension of 21 individuals involved in retail theft and the recovery of over $17,000 worth of stolen retail merchandise. 

Stamford, CT: Audacious Fur Store Robbery in Broad Daylight
An estimated $80,000 worth of merchandise was seized by three audacious robbers who struck the family-owned fur business, Engel's Furs, in Stamford, CT during peak business hours on December 27. According to reports from News 12, Dennis Nanos, the owner of the business, along with his brother Paul Nanos, was taken by surprise and couldn't believe his eyes when he realized that the man who rang the doorbell of the fur shop and entered as if nothing was wrong was not a regular customer but a robber ready and willing to do anything. Specifically, as Nanos emphasized, everything happened around 4:30 PM the previous Wednesday, two days after Christmas. He went to open the door, and soon realized that the man who came to in did not come with the intention to shop but with significantly darker motives. He began to behave violently and held the door open to allow his two accomplices to enter. 

Indianapolis, IN: Versace frames worth $7K stolen from north Indy Dr. Tavel Family Eye Care in 'smash and grab'
A local business is out of $7,000 worth of designer frames after a "smash and grab" early Thursday morning. IMPD responded to Dr. Tavel Family Eye Care, located near North Keystone and East 38th Street, around 3 a.m. Jan. 4. When police arrived, they found shattered glass on the floor, according to the report. It was later determined that 17 Versace glasses were stolen. The frames were valued at $7,050. Kent Iglehart, the general manager, said this is the latest of multiple burglaries over the last two months. "It's just frustrating and distracting," Iglehart said. "This is not what we want to be doing." According to police reports, on Nov. 24 someone stole $3,600 worth of eyeglasses. That same day someone made off with $5,700 in frames. On the morning of Dec. 6, nearly $7,300 in designer frames were stolen before a thief stole $2,000 dollars in frames later that same day. Despite the series of thefts, Iglehart said they have no intention of closing shop. 

Roseburg, OR: ATF offers $3k reward after multiple guns stolen from Bi-Mart
The ATF is offering a $3,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest after several guns were stolen from Bi-Mart in Roseburg Oregon. The Roseburg Police Department says the robbery happened on Dec. 11 where store security video showed one person leaving the building with the guns. "These firearms are most likely still in the area," said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan E. Blais. "The sooner these firearms are recovered and the burglar or burglars brought to justice the sager the community will be." 

Washington, DC: Are street vendors selling stolen goods in DC
During FOX 5's Wednesday night broadcast, we showed you the bare shelves at a CVS in Northwest D.C.'s Columbia Heights neighborhood. While outside, a nearby street vendor was selling detergent he said was sourced from a "flea market." FOX 5 raised the issue of vendors selling potentially stolen goods on Thursday with Mayor Muriel Bowser. She pointed the finger at the D.C. Council for decriminalizing street vending. Council Chair Phil Mendelson pushed back against the mayor's comments via X. He posted that it's still illegal to sell stolen items, and it's up to D.C. police to enforce the law. The police union weighed in on that post, telling FOX 5 that the council chair's comment "shows he has a very limited understanding of the unintended consequences of his misguided legislation." "Phil Mendelson voted for and passed The Street Vendor Advancement Act of 2023, which decriminalized illegal street vending and prohibited MPD from engaging in street vending investigations and enforcement," said Gregg Pemberton, the D.C. Police Union Chairman.
FOX 5 reached out to Mendelson, but we haven't heard back. 

Columbus, OH: Sneaker store broken into, $4,000 worth of merchandise was stolen

Stratford, ON, Canada: Police seek suspects in $100K Jewelry store Smash and Grab at Stratford Mall

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Shootings & Deaths

Montgomery, AL: 1 killed, 1 injured in domestic shooting in Eastchase area
Montgomery police confirm there was a fatal shooting in the Eastchase area Thursday afternoon. A police spokeswoman said it happened in the 6800 block of Eastchase Parkway shortly before 3 p.m. WSFA 12 News crews found the scene in the Juicy Crab parking lot. Maj. Saba Coleman said a man was pronounced dead at the scene. She said they found another man with a non-life-threatening gunshot at a local hospital.
Coleman said charges may be pending against the injured man.  wsfa.com

Fredericksburg, TX: Update: Police arrest man they believed shot and killed a convenience store customer
The Fredericksburg Police Department said it arrested one person Wednesday night in connection to an aggravated robbery on late Tuesday. One person died at a convenience store in the 1000 block of South State Highway 16. Officers responded to a call at 11:47 p.m. regarding a person who was shot. At the scene, police found a man, later identified as 48-year-old Arthur Cortez, outside the store with a gunshot wound. Officers performed first aid, but Cortez was later pronounced dead, according to FPD. In a post on Facebook around 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning, FPD said detectives received tips that led to the positive identification and whereabouts of the suspect. They obtained a search warrant and arrest warrant for the man who was staying at a local motel. Around 11:46 p.m. on Wednesday, FPD took 21-year-old Awes Singko Rapet into custody. He is charged with Capital Murder. He is being held in the Gillespie County Jail. A clerk at the store told police a man - later identified as Rapet - entered the store, went to the back to put on a white skull mask, and returned to the front before firing a gun.  kxan.com

Duncan, SC: Update: Suspect in fatal shooting at Dollar General arrested in Ohio
A man suspected of fatally shooting another inside a Dollar General in Duncan has been arrested in Ohio. According to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, Ladarius Jquan Harris, 27, of Spartanburg was arrested Thursday by a SWAT Team in Ohio after a brief standoff. On Wednesday, Dec. 27, Harris is believed to have shot Danny Ray Crisp, 50, of Spartanburg inside of a Dollar General in Duncan. Crisp died a few days later at the hospital. According to the sheriff's office, prior to the incident the two men had been in a disagreement where shots were fired, but not reported. The sheriff's office said surveillance video from Dollar General of the day of the shooting shows Crisp arm himself with a mallet and follow Harris around the store. The video also reportedly shows Crisp motioning for his wife and daughter to exit the store, then raising the mallet and heading towards the aisle Harris was on. Store cameras did not capture the shooting, but based on the video, investigators and solicitors believe the shooting was in self defense. However, the sheriff's office said based on Harris' criminal history, he appeared to have violated two weapons offenses.  wnct.com

Chicago, IL: C-Store Owner Fires Back As Thieves Robbed Her Store a Second Time in 4 Days
Early this morning in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood, a dramatic encounter unfolded at V's Convenience Store located at 460 East 61st Street. Three male suspects shattered the store's front door window around 4:35 a.m., initiating a burglary. Vanessa Harris, the 40-year-old store owner, arrived on the scene as the suspects were taking merchandise. Confronted by one of the burglars who fired a gun at her, Harris, a licensed concealed carry holder, responded by shooting back. Fortunately, Harris was not injured, and it remains unclear if any of the suspects were hit. Harris recounted the ordeal, saying, "I was kinda nervous, thinking like, 'are they going to shoot again?' But then I realized he did it as a scare shot, and they ran off at the store. I just fired back and two more ran out on foot."  usacarry.com

Charlotte, NC: 1 charged after shots fired into Mecklenburg Co. ABC liquor store
A report states two rounds went through the front door frame of the ABC Store.

Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Philadelphia, PA: Drive-thru robberies: McDonald's employee describes being robbed at gunpoint
A drive-thru employee who was robbed at gunpoint while working at a McDonald's in the Torresdale section of Philadelphia spoke with Action News about the harrowing ordeal. "I'm scarred by it, it was terrifying," said Ashley Gayton, who was working at the drive-thru window on December 29. During the lunch rush, a Toyota Corolla pulled up to the window, and a man ran up to her with a gun. "He was pointing it at my head. He said 'Give me the money', and I said 'Okay, just please put the gun down,'" Gayton said. "He put the gun down a little bit and I just jumped away from the window and slammed it shut."
Her bravery meant the duo got away with nothing. After they drove off she continued helping customers before reality set in. "I walked up front, told my manager what happened, and I walked outside and cried," Gayton said. The same pair is suspected of robbing a Dunkin' drive-thru on Whitaker Avenue about an hour later. Police also believe the same pair hit another McDonald's drive-thru on Adams Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia 10 days earlier 6abc.com

Turlock, CA: Police arrest Stockton man in connection to ATM card skimmer
A detective with the Turlock Police Department received a notification from an allied agency regarding a suspect who allegedly installed a card-skimming device in an ATM, police said. The detective used a license plate reader to locate a suspect vehicle in the drive-thru of the Westamerica Bank on Geer Road, authorities said.  abc10.com

Man's Bold Theft Of Limited-Edition Stanley Cups At Starbucks
A daring theft occurred at a Target store's Starbucks stall, where a man made a bold move to steal a box of limited-edition Stanley Cups. The incident, captured on camera, shows the man leaping over the counter and swiftly making off with the valuable items. Despite attempts by bystanders and potentially store security to intervene, the thief managed to abscond with one of the coveted 40-ounce Stanley tumblers.  tmz.com

Los Angeles, CA: 2 indicted for $8.5 million Airbnb, Vrbo scam that defrauded thousands

Memphis, TN: UPS Truck ransacked by thieves at business

Cleveland, TN: Store employee arrested for allegedly stealing $97k+ in lottery tickets

Lehigh Acres, FL: Former manager accused of stealing nearly $8K from c-store

Alamance County, NC: Dollar General employee, accomplice charged with stealing $800 of merchandise from store



C-Store- San Antonio, TX - Robbery
C-Store - Hollister, CA - Armed Robbery
C-Store- Chicago, IL - Burglary/ shots fired
C-Store - Tulare, CA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Houston, TX - Armed Robbery
Cellphone - Memphis, TN - Armed Robbery
Dollar - Baton Rouge, LA - Robbery
Eyewear - Indianapolis, IN - Burglary
Gas Station - Chicago, IL - Armed Robbery
Grocery - Thief River Falls, MN - Robbery
Guns - Leesburg, VA - Burglary
Liquor - Huntsville, AL - Robbery
Pharmacy - Moulton, AL - Burglary
Restaurant - Petaluma, CA - Burglary
Restaurant - American Canyon, CA - Burglary
Restaurant - Philadelphia, PA - Armed Robbery / McDonalds
Restaurant - Philadelphia, PA - Armed Robbery /Dunkin
Restaurant - Arlington Heights, IL - Robbery / Dunkin
Shoes - Columbus, OH - Burglary
Tobacco - Amarillo, TX - Armed Robbery
Tobacco - Parsons, KS - Burglary
Vape - Leonardtown, MD - Robbery
Walmart - Clarkson, WA - Burglary                       


Daily Totals:
• 14 robberies
• 9 burglaries
• 1 shooting
• 0 killed

Click map to enlarge




None to report.

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