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Protos Security Whitepaper

Leveraging Law Enforcement and Security Measures to Combat ORC

Organized retail crime (ORC) poses a significant challenge to law enforcement and society as a whole. While it is well known that financial losses, public safety concerns, and broader societal impacts are all part of these issues, it is challenging to find a solution as crime rates continue to rise. The purpose of this whitepaper is to explore the role of law enforcement in combating organized retail crime. Retailers and consumers alike are negatively affected, which results in billions of dollars in losses each year. In order to effectively address this issue, law enforcement must work collaboratively with retailers and other stakeholders.

We present strategies and recommendations to enhance the fight against ORC, contributing to the protection of businesses and the safety of communities. A number of challenges associated with ORC are outlined, as well as strategies and best practices that retailers should follow to collaborate effectively with law enforcement and other stakeholders. The whitepaper also discusses solutions and strategies to combat this growing problem.

Download this whitepaper to learn more about law enforcement's vital role in creating a safer environment for society and communities while reducing organized retail crime.

Click here to download the whitepaper

The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

Using a Tried & True Approach to Fight Retail Theft in NY
'More street policing, more police surveillance, more prosecutors, and tougher penalties.'

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's Copy-and-Paste Crime-Fighting Formula

This year, the governor's budget contains an agenda to combat retail theft. It looks a lot like last year's plan to curb gun violence.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul pushed through a tough-on-crime crackdown on gun violence:
more street policing, more police surveillance, more prosecutors, and tougher penalties. Now, she's using the same playbook against retail theft.

To combat gun violence two years ago, Hochul launched
information-sharing initiatives between federal, state, and local police. This year, she wants a federal-state-local "Law Enforcement Joint Operation on Retail Theft."

That joint operation would be
"anchored" around the state's Crime Analysis Center Network, a series of local police headquarters modeled after so-called "fusion centers," the secretive intelligence hubs created during the post-September 11, 2001, expansion in domestic surveillance.

Building on those efforts this year, she has proposed
creating a clearinghouse within the Crime Analysis Center Network to gather and sift through information from retailers and disseminate it among the newly shoplifting-focused cops.

Hochul has argued that the
intense surveillance is necessary because retail crime is increasingly "driven by organized retail theft networks." New York City saw a 64 percent increase in reported shoplifting between 2019 and 2023, even as most major cities saw retail theft go down. Statewide, incidents have risen at about a third of that pace.

Beyond surveillance for organized crime, Hochul's anti-retail theft efforts focus on the same street policing initiatives she used to tackle gun violence. She wants to
spend $25 million to create and deploy a new State Police team dedicated to building cases against shoplifting rings, as well as a new "Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit." She also wants to increase the use of so-called "trespass affidavits," or agreements between law enforcement and businesses that allow police to arrest people who return to a store after the business accuses them of stealing.

She wants
$5 million to help local law enforcement build out their retail theft policing initiatives. Once the cops wrangle shoplifters, Hochul wants district attorneys ready to prosecute them. Last year, she disseminated tens of millions to hire "hundreds of new prosecutors." This year, she wants to send DAs $10 million specifically to prosecute property crime cases. nysfocus.com

Shoplifters Pilfering D.C. Stores, Then Selling the Goods Just Up the Street?
'The result has been complete chaos on the streets of the nation's capital.'

Washington D.C. Democrats' Latest Criminal Justice "Reform" Failure
After the
Washington, D.C. City Council decriminalized street vending without a license last year, shoplifters began ransacking stores and then setting up stands to sell the stolen goods - sometimes mere feet away from the businesses they just robbed. But while even far-left Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser has called on the council to reverse the decision, councilmembers are incredibly blaming police for rising theft.

In April of last year, the D.C. City Council unanimously passed the Street Vendor Advancement Amendment Act, billed as an
"overhaul" of street vendor laws that would "remove red tape" and allow more people to sell food and other items to make a living or earn extra income. Democrats on the council complained that police were "harassing" street vendors and argued that someone should not have to have a special license to be a street vendor.

Less than a year later,
the result has been complete chaos on the streets of the nation's capital.

As one local D.C. news outlet reported on January 5,
dozens of stores around the city have been completely emptied by thieves. A Target in Columbia Heights now requires anyone under 18 to be accompanied by an adult. Many drugstores and corner markets have entirely bare shelves.

Thanks to the city council's decision to decriminalize street vending, many are simply walking a few blocks and
setting up open-air black markets to sell the stolen goods at a heavy markdown - cash only, of course.

theft was up 23 percent in D.C. in 2023 over 2022 numbers, with a grand total of 3,470 robberies and 13,349 other instances of theft last year. The problem has gotten so bad that Mayor Muriel Bowser - an avowed leftist who signed the Street Vendor Advancement Amendment Act last year - has called on the council to reverse the legislation. amac.us

Theft Increases By 16% in LA
Los Angeles sees a drop in homicides, but property crime is up

Preliminary police data reveals a mixed picture in the city in 2023

A preliminary look at publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data reveals results that sometimes go in opposite directions.
In 2023, violent crime fell by 3.2%, with drops in categories such as murder, robbery and rape.

"In regards to
property crime, it was a different picture," Police Chief Michel Moore said during the Jan. 9 meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission. "We saw a 3.5% increase."

Fewer murders

The most notable decline involved homicides, which began soaring at the onset of the pandemic. The
peak was the 402 murders in 2021. Numbers declined slightly in 2022, and at the Police Commission meeting Moore stated that last year there were "65 fewer homicides, which is a more than 16% reduction."

Preliminary data puts the 2023 count at 327 killings.
Numerous major U.S. cities also saw murders fall last year.  The initial crime figures also show an 8.6% reduction in gun violence. Moore said there were 127 fewer shooting victims in 2023 than the previous year.

Thieves hit stores and cars

Even as violent crime fell, the city was
shaken by a wave of retail theft. This included a summer string of high-profile smash-and-grab or group thefts from department stores

LAPD's category of personal/other theft, which includes retail crimes, increased by 16% last year, Moore stated. The LAPD responded by partnering with regional law enforcement organizations to form a new Organized Retail Theft Task Force. xtown.la

Same Story Across the Nation

Does More Police Mean Safer Streets? Fewer Property Crimes Get Solved
In Minneapolis, police staffing levels continued to drop in 2023. So did crime.
Criminologists say police staffing is only one factor in a vast and complicated universe of what drives crime trends in the U.S.

Minneapolis is entering
2024 with a grim outlook for its police force, but what that bodes for crime rates remains to be seen.

The number of active officers in the Minneapolis Police Department
has fallen to 565 - down 35% from nearly 900 in 2019 - an exodus that is exacerbating what the chief repeatedly warns is an unsustainable long-term calculus for public safety in Minnesota's largest city.

But while
violent crime remains above pre-pandemic levels, it dropped in Minneapolis for the second consecutive year in 2023, more evidence that the latest wave of murders, shootings and carjackings is receding.

In 2021, Chalfin set out to measure what role police staffing plays. Through
38 years of data from 242 law enforcement agencies, he and others concluded that every 10 to 17 additional hires translated to one life saved. But more officers also created "collateral costs," such as a disproportionate jump in low-level arrests in minority neighborhoods that bred distrust and hurt safety perceptions, according to the study published in American Economic Review: Insights. The researchers also cited evidence that more police can lead to a rise in discriminatory practices, including the use of force on Black suspects.

When violent crime surges in American cities, calls to beef up police resources generally follow, based on conventional wisdom that more officers mean safer streets. But it can be
difficult to disentangle the role of cops vs. other deterrents, like additional funding for youth programs or drug treatment. Adversely, a drop in police ranks can affect residents' perception of safety as depleted resources are reallocated. Fewer property crimes go investigated and solved, while more serious cases may take even longer.

Phelps said residents and police must be realistic about what law enforcement can accomplish. Police chiefs control where and how to deploy officers - but they have no authority over greater societal factors driving crime.

Staffing crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic upended society by displacing children from school, economically destabilizing their parents and fueling a sense of despair that drove spikes in overdoses and suicides. George Floyd's murder inflamed tensions in a community already on edge.

What followed were
three of the bloodiest years in the city's history - as homicides surged to the worst in a generation - and officers left the force in droves. The wave of resignations, retirements and disability claims by police, mostly related to post-traumatic stress disorder, shrunk the department by nearly 40%.

MPD now has among the
lowest ratio of officers to residents in the nation, fundamentally changing how the department operates. Top brass leaned on state and county law enforcement partners to fill the gaps and hired part-time civilian analysts to review video evidence. startribune.com

Cleaning Up Urban America - Who Gets the Bill & Where Do They Go?
Supreme Court to decide whether cities can ban homeless from public areas
The US Supreme Court announced Friday
it will rule on a case challenging this new normal of squalor, disease and shouting schizophrenics invading our neighborhoods.

The town of Grants Pass, Ore., about 250 miles south of Portland, is challenging a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that goes back to 2018, shielding the homeless from any punishment for camping on public property.

The Ninth Circuit, known for its left-wing jurisprudence, says penalties for sleeping on public property amount to "cruel and unusual punishment."

Courts in the rest of the United States have cited it as a reason to tolerate homeless encampments.

What the justices decide this spring will affect the entire country.

Advocates for the homeless say
cities are unwilling to spend the money to take care of the indigent.

Don't fall for that. All across the nation, municipalities have been increasing shelter accommodations, but many homeless flatly refuse to come in off the streets.

A Portland survey showed that 75% turned down offers for shelter accommodations. In San Francisco, 54% did in 2023, according to city data.

"The consequences of inaction are dire," they say, citing: "crime, fires, the re-emergence of medieval diseases, environmental harm, and record levels of drug overdoses and deaths on public streets."

Even California's governor, Gavin Newsom, is warning the justices that homeless encampments "are dangerous" and pose "immediate threats to health and safety."

Expect the justices to overturn the Ninth Circuit's loony decision and free municipalities to restore order and safety to their streets.

But the court can't command them to do it.

Ultimately it will depend on local officials to act on behalf of the quiet, law-abiding majority. nypost.com

Police & Retailers in Cities Nationwide Build Partnerships to Fight ORC
Seal Beach Police Partner With Businesses to Combat Organized Theft
According to the Seal Beach Police Department,
several targeted enforcement operations during the 2023 holiday season resulted in multiple suspects being arrested and the recovery of stolen vehicles and merchandise.

However, the city continues to experience
a noticeable increase in retail crime, including "pushout" thefts, in which offenders exit a store with loaded merchandise without purchase, along with return scams and grab-and-runs.

"To address this growing problem, the
Seal Beach Police Department has partnered with local retailers to deploy proactive enforcement operations to gather intelligence, identify suspects, and arrest all offenders," police said in a statement.

Seal Beach police detectives conducted
six organized retail crime-directed enforcement operations during October, November and December 2023. The operations consisted of investigators conducting surveillance at retail establishments and making arrests as crimes occurred. mynewsla.com

Shoppers sue Target, saying they were rammed by kids on scooters in Cherry Hill
The Philadelphia women suffered "lifelong" back and leg injuries as a result of the incident, according to their attorney, Michael van der Veen.

Two Philadelphia women say they were seriously injured after children rammed them with electric scooters while they shopped at the Cherry Hill Target.

"Target allowed a number of youths into the store without really monitoring them or figuring out what they were doing," said van der Veen, a Philadelphia lawyer who defended President Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial. "They hopped on scooters that were there and were just zipping around the store."

Target "did nothing" to prevent the injuries, van der Veen said, or to remedy the situation afterward. And it was all preventable.
It's really a gross negligence that Target was displaying."

Target spokespeople did not return requests for comment. In court documents, the corporation denies that it was careless or negligent, saying that the store was adequately supervised. Employees had no notice that the scooters were being misused, according to Target, and any injuries to the women were caused by other customers over whom the company "had no control nor right of control."  inquirer.com

Councilmember plans to increase LAPD foot patrols for Eagle Rock retail theft prevention

New Zealand Lawmaker Resigns After Shoplifting Allegations



Workplace Safety & Robots
Can Robots Improve Workplace Safety?

NSC found that remote-controlled robots offer high-value for confined entry inspections, working from height and hazardous material handling.

While the answer to this question is generally yes, there are drawbacks. In a white paper,
Improving Workplace Safety with Robots, the National Safety Council looked at how robots can reduce the risk of serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs).

The report reached five key findings:

1. Robots are available in various control configurations - remote-controlled, pre-programmed or autonomous - as well as in various forms.

2. AGVs and AMRs are available as off-the-shelf solutions for small and large industrial warehousing and factory facilities, requiring approximately one week of mapping and route planning.

3. Remote-controlled robots offer high-value use cases for confined entry inspections, working from height and hazardous material handling, reducing the risk of human exposure to toxic gases, high temperatures, electric shock hazards and falls from height.

4. Cobots and robotic arms are well established for repetitive manual tasks, such as machine tending, parts repositioning and pick-and-place - and implementation and return-on-investment (ROI) can be seen quickly enough for organizations of all sizes.

5. Deployment of safety-related robotics in more complex and dynamic environments require longer development and testing times.

6. Pre-built, easy-to-use robotics hardware and software packages are being continuously developed for additional common safety-related use cases - meaning the real ROI concerning safety will be seen in the near future for both large and small industrial organizations.

To review the entire analysis of the report, click here. ehstoday.com

Self-Checkout Backlash Continues
'It hasn't delivered': The spectacular failure of self-checkout technology

Unstaffed tills were supposed to revolutionise shopping. Now, both retailers and customers are bagging many self-checkout kiosks.

For shoppers, self-checkout was supposed to provide convenience and speed.
Retailers hoped it would usher in a new age of cost savings. Their thinking: why pay six employees when you could pay one to oversee customers at self-service registers, as they do their own labour of scanning and bagging for free?

While self-checkout technology has its theoretical selling points for both consumers and businesses, i
t mostly isn't living up to expectations. Customers are still queueing. They need store employees to help clear kiosk errors or check their identifications for age-restricted items. Stores still need to have workers on-hand to help them, and to service the machines.

The technology is, in some cases, more trouble than it's worth.

It hasn't delivered anything that it promises," says Christopher Andrews, associate professor and chair of sociology at Drew University, US, and author of The Overworked Consumer: Self-Checkouts, Supermarkets, and the Do-It-Yourself Economy. "Stores saw this as the next frontier... If they could get the consumer to think that [self-checkout] was a preferable way to shop, then they could cut labour costs. But they're finding that people need help doing it, or that they'll steal stuff. They ended up realising that they're not saving money, they're losing money."  bbc.com

Strict Return Policies Aren't Stopping the Flood of Returns
Study: Consumers undeterred by stricter policies as returns continue to increase
Higher restocking and shipping fees and shorter windows
aren't stopping customers from making returns, which are eating into retailers' profitability.

That's according to a new survey from Blue Yonder which found that while 89% of retailers having changed their returns policies in the past 12 months to make them more expensive for consumers, or otherwise tightening the restrictions around returns, more than half
(59%) experienced an increase in the rate of returns over that same period.

The results indicate that
63% of retailers face significant challenges with the management of returns as customers increasingly turn to online shopping options.

Retail product categories that traditionally haven't experienced
high return rates for in-store purchases are now seeing increased return rates online, with significant and somewhat significant return rate increases in sports & outdoor equipment (76%), cosmetics (73%), trade tools/equipment & DIY (72%), and children's Toys (68%). Overall, only 13% of retailers reported a decline in returns over that same 12-month period. chainstoreage.com

Consumer Spending Remained Resilient in December
NRF Says Census Data Shows 2023 Holiday Sales Grew 3.8% to Record $964.4B
WASHINGTON - U.S. Census Bureau data released today shows that core retail sales during the 2023 holiday season
grew 3.8% over 2022 to a record $964.4 billion, easily meeting the National Retail Federation's forecast despite continued inflation and high interest rates, NRF said. Sales for the full year grew 3.6% over 2022 to a record $5.13 trillion.

Consumer spending was remarkably resilient throughout 2023 and finished the year with a solid pace for the holiday season," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "Although inflation has been the biggest concern for households, the price of goods eased notably and was helped by a healthy labor market, underscoring a successful holiday season for retailers."

The 2023 holiday sales results
top the previous record of $929.5 billion spent during the 2022 holiday season. NRF had forecast that 2023 holiday sales would increase between 3% and 4% over 2022 to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion. Despite a slower growth rate compared with the past three years, when trillions of dollars of stimulus led to unprecedented rates of retail spending during the pandemic, 2023's holiday spending was consistent with the average annual holiday increase of 3.6% from 2010 to 2019. nrf.com

  RELATED: Retail sales rose 0.6% in December, topping expectations

Sales Offer Merchants "Glimmer of Hope"
PYMNTS Data: Inflation-Adjusted Retail Sales Offer Hope for Merchants Beyond the Holiday Surge
A real
spending, adjusted for inflation, is spiking upward, tracking the headline or nominal trend. In other words, the read across is that, by and large, consumers are buying more - more goods, more gifts, more food, more clothes ... name the category and the demand is there. In fact, PYMNTS has found that seasonally adjusted sales from 2022 to 2023 increased by 2.1%.

Part of the reason for the surge - and the narrowing of the gap between real and nominal sales - lies with the fact that
inflation for retail items (not overall) has been near 0%, though volatility reigns.

January's just underway, and there are no guarantees of what lies ahead, but if December's any indication,
merchants may see some brighter days ahead. pymnts.com

Are Retailers Keeping Up with Shopper Expectations?
IBM Study Reveals Gap Between Consumer Expectations & Retail Experiences
"IBM's 2024 Consumer Study has uncovered that
only nine per cent of consumers are satisfied with their in-store experiences and 14 per cent with online shopping. However, there is a burgeoning eagerness among consumers to embrace AI throughout their shopping journey," said Luq Niazi, Global Managing Partner, Industries & Global Consumer Industry Leader, IBM Consulting.

four in five consumers who haven't yet tried AI for shopping said they would like to use it to research products, look for deals, ask questions, and resolve issues.

"This signals
a clear demand for a seamless integration of technology, like AI, in retail, moving beyond the traditional paradigms to a more dynamic, personalized shopping environment. Personalization and targeted offerings are in demand, with 52 per cent of consumers surveyed interested in receiving information, advertisements, and offerings from stores that are relevant to their specific interests. The challenge and opportunity for retailers lies in responding to this eagerness for AI, leveraging the technology to enrich consumer shopping experiences at every point, from personalized recommendations to real-time inventory updates."  retail-insider.com

More U.S. Airstrikes in Response to Houthi Vessel Attacks
Tensions Continue to Ratchet Up in the Middle East
Middle East tensions are ratcheting up after the US launched another round of strikes on Yemen's Houthis overnight.
The American military targeted 14 Houthi missiles just before midnight Yemeni time. Hours later, Pakistan launched missiles against militants in Iran. Oil prices edged higher on Thursday following the strikes, with Brent rising above $78 a barrel as concern builds around the potential for interruptions to crude production and disrupted supply chains. Since the war between Israel and Hamas erupted in October, the Houthis have attacked vessels in the Red Sea, US bases have come under fire from Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria, and Tehran has struck targets in neighboring countries.  bloomberg.com

   RELATED: FedEx CEO eyes Red Sea crisis, rising ocean rates

Paint retailer Kelly-Moore is going out of business days after laying off 700 workers

Costco reportedly testing membership ID card scanners at store entries

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KangaSafe™: Versatile Product Protection
Pouches for Retail Security

Safeguard a multitude of various types of merchandise with siffron's KangaSafe™ security pouches. Easy to setup and apply, KangaSafe™ provides reusable protection against theft of valuable store merchandise, such as electronics, tools, seafood, or age-restricted items like alcohol, tobacco, vapes, and smoking accessories. Place the merchandise into the conductive, tamper-proof pouch, seal, and done! If pouches are cut or damaged before being unlocked by store personnel, or if the pouches pass through EAS gate, the tags will alarm.

No clunky safers or spider cables are necessary. KangaSafe™ security pouches work with a variety of sizes and shapes of merchandise. KangaSafe is also food safe and works in freezers and cold storage applications.

Tamper-proof pouch
Reduce theft
Easy to apply
Variety of sizes
Food safe - pouches are composed of PT and PET material
Freezer safe (up to -20°C optional)
Reusable - over 1000 pouch-to-tag connections
Custom sizes available fast with minimum order quantities

KangaSafe™ security pouches are available now from siffron and are perfect for grocery stores, specialty stores, electronics, and more.

Take a look and see how it works in this demonstration video:







Training & Awareness is a Must as Retail Cyber Risks Grow

Shining Light on Employee Cybersecurity Awareness in Retail
The dangers of cyber threats in the retail sector are numerous and costly, ranging from the
theft of sensitive employee, enterprise, and customer data to attacks on critical organization systems such as point of sale systems and web stores. Cybersecurity awareness can mitigate these dangers and bolster your defenses, lowering the chances of accidental breaches and deliberate attacks alike.

Cybersecurity Risks in Retail

There are many dangers to an organization, even with proper cybersecurity measures in place. On top of the traditional cybercriminal acts of credit card theft and the like, attacks have grown increasingly sophisticated and larger in scale, targeting entire systems in ways that can be catastrophic. A report from Terranova Security, "
Building Cybersecurity Awareness: Why Training is a Must for the Retail Sector," explores some of the root causes of the cybersecurity concerns currently plaguing retail organizations, including:

  • Overreliance on technology. With the growth of digital commerce, cybersecurity has become more and more important for retailers over the years. The adoption of evolving technologies may be accompanied by security solutions like firewalls and authentication mechanisms, but the human element is too often discounted almost entirely.

  • An outdated view of the retail threat landscape. While most retail organizations are likely concerned with threats like payment fraud and credit card theft, cybercriminals today opt for more advanced and difficult to detect attacks. Many sophisticated threats like ransomware are more likely to occur simply because organizations are not looking for them or defending against them adequately.

  • Misplaced responsibility. Cybersecurity presents an especially potent risk because a large proportion of employees do not understand their role in the overall security posture of the company. Up to 52% of employees believe that the issues of IT and cybersecurity are "not at all related" to their functions.

  • Increasing third-party integration into an evolving threat landscape. Massive amounts of sensitive data move through countless hands every day in retail. Many retailers rely on third parties as suppliers or service providers. The integration of a wide variety of third-party vendors, payment providers, and others makes it difficult for businesses to effectively cover the attack surface at the many vectors that can provide a chance for bad actors to infiltrate the organization.

How Cybersecurity Awareness Training Can Help

Retail organizations may shy away from implementing a
cybersecurity awareness training program for a variety of reasons. However, cybersecurity awareness training is vital for all businesses in retail, in spite of these factors.

To read the full Terranova Security report, "Building Cybersecurity Awareness: Why Training is a Must for the Retail Sector," download it here. tripwire.com

Case In Point: Another Retailer Hit by Cyber Attack
UK: British Cosmetics Retailer Lush Investigating Cyber Attack

From Bubbles to Bytes: Lush investigates 'cyber incident' without giving any substantial information to customers.

AdvertisementLush Retail Ltd., a popular British cosmetics retailer headquartered in Poole, Dorset, is investigating a cyber attack. Still, it is unclear whether it is a ransomware attack, a data breach, or a DDoS attack causing disruption.

Lush Retail Ltd., a British cosmetics retailer is surrounded by uncertainty after confirming a cybersecurity incident is brewing within the company. While details remain scarce, the news has left customers and industry experts alike
wondering just how deep the fragrant rabbit hole goes.

The company broke the news through a brief statement, admitting they are "
currently responding to a cybersecurity incident," but stopping short of revealing the attack's nature or potential targets. This cryptic stance has only fueled speculation, with concerns ranging from customer data breaches to operational disruptions.

"We take cybersecurity exceptionally seriously," stressed the statement, attempting to quell rising worry. "We have informed relevant authorities and are
working with external IT forensic specialists to conduct a thorough investigation."  hackread.com

As hacks worsen, SEC turns up the heat on CISOs
Last year saw the introduction of the SEC's new cyber reporting rules that now require companies to disclose "material" security incidents in public 8-K filings within four working days. The rules took effect in December and have already resulted in a flurry of companies filing new data breach disclosures with the SEC in its wake as companies figure out what "material" impact means.
It also saw the first case of a ransomware gang using the rules to call out the very company it hacked for not filing with regulators.

"We're going to see a lot of initial 8-K reports, and then probably multiple reports reporting on the same cyber hacks."

"When you're dealing with an incident and you're still knee-deep in the response four days in, you've identified, 'oh, shoot, our dumpster is on fire!' but you haven't even figured out what materials necessarily are in the dumpster as it's burning - and you've got to start reporting," said Wharton. "Knowing that as stuff ebbs and flows, public companies are going to have to update [those disclosures]."

The flip side to transparency coupled with remote work is that more things than ever are written down, recorded or otherwise saved and documented. That can be a boon for investigators and a headache for companies.

"I assume every email is going to be read either by your mother or in a deposition, or... in an SEC complaint, and it's shifting that watercooler talk," said Wharton. "Since we're not necessarily in offices, it's making sure that you're not necessarily putting it in writing and context gets lost in the meme that you send your colleagues because you thought it was hilarious."

"And the regulator's don't always have a great sense of humor," said Edwards.

"Companies are going to be struggling with bringing that culture with the eye that everything that they do is going to be under scrutiny."

Not only are new cybersecurity reporting rules putting companies and their data incidents under the public spotlight, recent federal enforcement action shows cybersecurity executives are also shouldering some of the responsibility. techcrunch.com

CISA: AWS, Microsoft 365 Accounts Under Active 'Androxgh0st' Attack
Cyberattackers are targeting Apache webservers and websites using the popular Laravel Web application framework in order to steal credentials for the apps.

Best practices to mitigate alert fatigue

Kaspersky releases utility to detect iOS spyware infections







In Case You Missed It

Introducing Sapphire's Loss Prevention course!

The Importance of Loss Prevention

"Implementing proactive loss prevention measures among a business begins by educating employees and arming them with the right information. Since it can be difficult sometimes to determine whether theft, loss, or diversion is internal or external, this is why fortifying a company with tools before an incident begins is vital."


The Importance of Cannabis Security
Security Guards: In-House vs. Outside Agency
The need for security guards in the cannabis industry is essential to the smooth operation of your business. Security officers are a deterrent for crime and serve as customer service representatives to your customers. Assisting with directions, crowd control, and checking IDs are some of the job functions security guards conduct at cannabis facilities.

The question that arises is - "why should I hire an outside agency to do security at my facility when I can do the security in-house?" Maybe you know some retired Law Enforcement officers who want to do your security, so why should you hire a company?

Hiring an outside company is the best route to go for the following reasons:

AdvertisementHiring good security officers may seem easy but when it comes to oversight, management, and scheduling of the officers, it becomes a headache. For small businesses with limited resources and staffing, it becomes a nightmare. By hiring an outside agency, it allows you to focus on running your facility and the outside agency will handle all the technical details of the guards.

Most national insurance carriers aren't currently insuring cannabis businesses. The ones that are generally shy away from insuring cannabis businesses that have in house security due to the extra liability involved. On the other hand, outside security agencies have several million dollars of liability insurance that you are covered under if you use an outside agency.

Having security in house means that you have to offer benefits to full time employees, as well as eat the cost of overtime when guards call out or you need additional officers. By using an outside agency, you don't have to worry about filling shifts and paying benefits and overtime.

An outside agency offers more than just security guards. They also offer consulting services to provide comprehensive risk assessments to further enhance the security at your facility.
Even when hiring in house guards, armed guards MUST still be in full compliance with all the pertinent laws for security guards. The right outside security agency will ensure that the guards always comply. In addition, although unarmed officers that are in house are exempt from the requirements of SORA, an outside agency has the upper hand in ensuring that your officers aren't committing crimes outside of work and still coming to work without you knowing that they have committed a crime. sapphirerisk.com

States Fighting Black Market Cannabis
Personal View: How Ohio pols can suppress the black market for cannabis
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost engaged in some legislative gaslighting in December when addressing the voter-initiated statute that legalized recreational cannabis. "
I want to make sure we don't have an illegal market in marijuana now that the voters have spoken," he said.

Legalizing recreational cannabis does not end black markets unless it's done right. We see this in California, arguably the most developed state-legal market for cannabis, which still has a vibrant black market riddled with pesticide-laced weed and inaccurate potency labeling. And we see it in New York, where our polling shows consumers have an alarming level of misplaced trust in black market weed.

state-level black markets can fuel one another. We know that when a cannabis product fails lab testing in California, it can't be sold there. We also know that a lot of New York's black market retailers sell illicit products with outdated and inaccurate California labels. It's unlikely that tainted product from California isn't being trafficked into New York.

Officials in Ohio can learn from the mistakes made in other states to get legalization right. One lesson they can learn is that
no amount of enforcement will end the black market, because marijuana use is ubiquitous and it's easy for consumers to conflate above-board retailers with illicit ones.

legal cannabis retailers need to be permitted to open where there is demand for them, as quickly as possible, to pull consumers out of the black market. Our polling in Ohio shows that consumers are eager to shop in the legal market for cannabis even though it will cost them a little bit more.  crainscleveland.com

Restricting the Number of Cannabis Shops
Struggling with oversaturation, Oregon's cannabis industry calls for new restrictions
Leaders of Oregon's cannabis industry are asking the state to
permanently restrict the number of new marijuana businesses.

To date,
Oregon has approved over 3,000 licenses for the farming, processing or sale of marijuana. Industry advocates say since businesses can't export to other states, that's far more than what their customers need.

The proposal would require that before any new licenses are issued, there is less than one license for every 7,500 smoking-age adults in Oregon. For processing and wholesale licenses, this would need to be below one in 12,500.

Getlin said
the state is far above that threshold right now. He said this change wouldn't stop the current overcrowding, but it will prevent things from getting worse. cannabisbusinessexecutive.com

Colorado Springs marijuana dispensaries closing after failure of recreational sales question

Hochul proposes repeal of NY's marijuana 'potency tax'




AI Flooding Amazon With Product Listings
Amazon has been hit with a wave of truly bizarre AI-generated listings

Amazon says it has removed the listings in question and is "further enhancing" its systems.

The site has been playing host to items with names such as, "I cannot fulfill this request as it goes against OpenAI use policy." The trend was noticed on social media, with users sharing screenshots of the listings.

The trend suggests
companies might be using OpenAI's popular chatbot to create product descriptions, including item names, without reviewing the final results.

Amazon has been known to struggle with AI-generated reviews, this new trend raises questions about how thoroughly the site reviews some of its product listings.

In a statement shared with Futurism, the company said: "
We work hard to provide a trustworthy shopping experience for customers, including requiring third-party sellers to provide accurate, informative product listings."

We have removed the listings in question and are further enhancing our systems," the spokesperson continued.

AI is already being used to flood other areas of the internet with content. On X, a similar phrase has popped up in seemingly AI-generated posts. businessinsider.com

The Promise -- and Struggle -- of the Digital Shopping Age
The Digital Shift: How Businesses Are Navigating the New Age of Online Shopping
The world of retail has undergone significant transformation over the last decade and much of the shift has been prompted by the global increase in online shopping.
The advent and rapid adoption of the internet and the ubiquity of digital devices have made it possible for consumers to gain fast and easy access to a wide range of goods and services from the comfort of their own homes.

In 2022,
global online sales exceeded 5.7 trillion U.S. dollars, with the e-commerce sector accounting for approximately 19% of all retail sales, and the figures are projected to hit new highs in the years to come. As online shopping has been growing steadily in all parts of the world, changing consumers' behaviour and impacting the way businesses run their operations, the Welsh retail landscape also bears the signs of these changes.

In Wales, the e-commerce expansion has created as many challenges as opportunities, with local businesses being thrust into the digital realm. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are trying to carve their path in this exciting and relatively unfamiliar territory, while
digital-savvy entrepreneurs are taking full advantage of the possibilities and prospects laid in front of them. newsfromwales.co.uk

UK retail jobs decline as value, online shopping become norm

Amazon opens first Alaska ground-delivery station in Midtown Anchorage








San Francisco, CA: Attorney General Bonta: 3 arrested in Bay Area retail theft ring that stole $650K in merchandise
Three people suspected of being part of a retail theft ring responsible for more than two dozen burglaries and attempted burglaries have been arrested, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Wednesday. According to a statement from Bonta's office, the three were suspected in about 25 incidents at smoke shops, liquor stores and high-end-retail stores between September 8, 2023 and November 14, 2023. The thefts resulted in more than $650,000 in losses. All three suspects are facing multiple felony charges, including grand theft and second-degree burglary. The suspects' identities have not been released. "Organized retail theft harms businesses, retailers, and consumers - and puts the public at risk," Bonta said. "I want to thank our local law enforcement partners for their work in apprehending the suspects in this case." Among the thefts allegedly linked to the suspects include an October 3 break-in at the Louis Vuitton store in Walnut Creek. According to police, a suspect drove a stolen Land Rover through the store's front window, followed by 10-15 suspects stealing more than $246,000 in merchandise. "Walnut Creek detectives worked diligently and thoroughly on this investigation," said Chief Jamie Knox of the Walnut Creek Police Department. "We appreciated the partnership with the Concord Police Department, FBI Safe Streets, and the Attorney General's Office among others to bring this complex case to a successful conclusion."  cbsnews.com

Riverside County, CA: Inglewood man arrested, suspected in $100,000 jewelry smash-and-grabs in Corona and Perris
An Inglewood man has been arrested following investigations of smash-and-grab robberies in Perris and Corona, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department announced. On Sunday, July 30 at 1:44 p.m., Perris Station deputies responded to a smash-and-grab robbery at a jewelry store in the 1600 block of Perris Boulevard in Perris. Seven masked robbers pepper-sprayed the security guard as they entered the store and broke the glass on several display cases, stealing $100,000 in jewelry, a sheriff's department statement said. On Sunday, Aug. 20, the Corona Police Department responded to another smash-and-grab robbery in Corona, at Daniel's Jewelers on 2785 Cabot Drive. Corona police said the robbers broke display cases with hammers and placed jewelry inside a trash can. Police located the suspect vehicle and pursued four hooded suspects in a Chevrolet Malibu. Corona officers stopped the suspect vehicle in Fullerton and arrested two suspects, one of them being Joshua Lewis, a 24-year-old man from Inglewood, who was suspected by sheriff's investigators to also be involved in the Perris theft, the statement said. 

San Diego, CA: Police search for smash-and-grab jewelry burglars who hit JC Penney at Fashion Valley Mall
Police are asking for the public's help finding a man they say is responsible for a smash-and-grab burglary at the Fashion Valley Mall. The burglary occurred around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning at JCPenney. A video shot after the burglary showed the shattered glass of jewelry display cases inside the retailer. Police say the thief forced his way into the store, smashed the cases and then took the jewelry. 

Charles County, MD: Detectives Thwart $11,000 Organized Retail Theft
In a successful operation by the Charles County Sheriff's Office, two suspects were apprehended immediately after stealing fragrances valued at over $11,000 from a department store. The incident, occurring on January 10 at 10:30 a.m., was part of a coordinated effort to tackle organized retail thefts causing significant losses nationwide. Detective Hooper and the store's loss prevention staff conducted a surveillance operation. They observed Chawnniece Rickelle Mitchell, 25, and Gary Denali Goodridge, 26, both from Washington, D.C., enter the store and swiftly take a large quantity of fragrances. Without paying for the items, the duo attempted to flee the scene with the stolen merchandise stuffed in bags. 

La Verne, CA: Organized retail theft crew steals $3K worth of Nike merch from Kohls in La Verne
Police busted an organized retail theft crew after they allegedly stole $3,300 worth of Nike merchandise from a Kohl's in La Verne Monday, officials said. The four suspects - who were only identified as Moreno Valley residents - were located by officers during a traffic stop. One of the suspects tried to run away but was later detained. According to police, the suspects stole about 50 Nike clothing items from the Kohl's store. 

Santa Ana, CA: A woman armed with scissors stole over $2K worth of makeup from Target

Chattanooga, TN: Trio scores big theft at Five Below; hundreds in clothing and other items

Toronto, Canada: 3 suspects sought in smash and grab robbery at Sherway Gardens

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Shootings & Deaths

Hawthorne, CA: Burger joint shooting leaves Lawndale father of 4 dead, suspect arrested
A Southern California family was left heartbroken and searching for answers after an off-duty security guard was fatally shot in the stomach in the parking lot of a Hawthorne burger restaurant. Authorities said the victim got into a fight with the suspect in the parking lot of Fabulous Charbroiled Burgers in the 3300 block of W. Rosecrans Avenue, near the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard, just before 2 a.m. Wednesday. Investigators called the incident a "senseless shooting." Family members identified the victim as Eddie McAllister, of Lawndale. They said he stopped to get something to eat after getting off work as an unarmed security guard at the time of the shooting.  foxla.com

Houston, TX: Graphic surveillance video captures man shot 18 times outside a Tire Store, search continues for suspect
Graphic video shows the moment a gunman shot a victim 18 times, killing him. The man was a customer at "24 Hour Tire" in south Houston. Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday is when the gunman opened fire, killing the customer and injuring an employee with a ricochet bullet. "The crime in Houston is at an all-time high," said Robert Moore, the shop owner. The shooter, armed with an assault rifle, took the victim's wallet after killing him. "I suspect it to be a targeted hit," said Moore. "I find it to be an execution. It's beyond just being shot. This was an execution - they wanted to make sure, whoever did it, wanted to make sure this guy was deceased."  fox26houston.com

Gonzales, LA: Police arrest 19-year-old for attempted murder after New Year's Day shooting outside Walmart
Police arrested a 19-year-old after a New Year's Day shooting at a Walmart parking lot that resulted in two injuries. Police initially responded at 9:30 p.m. on January 1 at the Gonzales Walmart parking lot due to reports of gunshots. Ja'ky Joshua, 19, of Darrow, was arrested for attempted second-degree murder and negligent injuring. Police learned that the subjects met in the parking lot to facilitate the sale of an object before it turned into a possible robbery that ended in gunfire.  wbrz.com

Chattanooga, TN: Suspect shot by driver while trying to rob Brinks truck from area Walgreens
Chattanooga police are investigating after an attempted robbery on East Brainerd Road ended with the suspect being shot on Tuesday. It happened around 10:40am at the Walgreens next to Publix in the 8700 block of East Brainerd Road. CPD spokesperson Sgt. Victor Miller says the suspect was trying to get into a Brinks truck at the pharmacy chain when he was shot by the driver. Sgt. Miller says the suspect was taken to a local hospital and is expected to be okay.  local3news.com

Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Houston, TX: Police seeking Theft suspect in violent clash with Dollar General employee
The Houston Police Department needs your help locating a shoplifting suspect who fought a store employee in November 2023. The incident occurred on the 500 block of Crosstimbers on November 24, 2023. Officials said the male suspect walked around the store, grabbed numerous items, and then walked towards the exit. Authorities said an employee recognized the suspect as a frequent shoplifter and locked the front door, keeping the male suspect from leaving with the unpaid items. That's when the suspect assaulted the store employee by punching him numerous times in the face. The employee then unlocked the front door and the suspect fled the location in an unknown direction.  fox26houston.com

7-Eleven ATM robberies under investigation in DC, Maryland, Virginia

Hartford, CT: DOJ: New Britain man sentenced to 6 years for string of convenience store robberies

Columbus, OH: DOJ: Grand jury indicts Columbus man for committing 2 armed robberies against U.S. postal carriers

Tampa, FL: DOJ: Madeira Beach Woman Arrested For Access Device Fraud

Huntington, NY: Ex-Jewelry Store Manager Pleads Guilty to $137,000 Theft

Miami, FL: Suspect arrested in November armored truck armed robbery in Miami Gardens



Auto - Houston, TX - Armed Robbery / Victim killed
C-Store - Las Cruces, NM - Robbery
C-Store - Apache County, AZ - Robbery
Dollar - Apache County, AZ - Robbery
Dollar - Houston, TX - Robbery
Dollar - Lumberton, NC - Armed Robbery
Gas Station - Jackson, TN - Robbery
JC Penney - San Diego, CA - Burglary
Jewelry - Riverside County, CA - Robbery
Jewelry - Hayward, CA - Burglary
Jewelry - Peabody MA - Burglary
Jewelry - Westland, MI - Armed Robbery
Jewelry - Tallahassee, FL - Robbery
Jewelry - Lonetree, CO - Robbery
Jewelry - Aurora, CO - Robbery
Jewelry - Westminster, CO - Robbery
Jewelry - Puyallup, WA - Robbery
Jewelry - Humble, TX - Robbery
Jewelry - The Woodlands, TX - Robbery
Jewelry - Providence, RI - Robbery
Liquor - Sacramento, CA - Robbery
Restaurant - Apache County, AZ - Armed Robbery
Restaurant - Houston, TX - Armed Robbery
Restaurant - Houston, TX - Armed Robbery
Restaurant - Madison, WI - Burglary
Walgreens - Omaha, NE - Armed Robbery
Walgreens - Duluth, MN - Armed Robbery                               


Daily Totals:
• 23 robberies
• 4 burglaries
• 1 shooting
• 1 killed

Click map to enlarge




None to report.

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Asset Protection Specialist
Newburgh, NY - reposted January 2
The Asset Protection Specialist role at Ocean State Job Lot is responsible for protecting company assets and monitoring store activities to reduce property or financial losses. This role partners closely with store leadership and the Human Resources team, when applicable, to investigate known or suspected internal theft, external theft, and vendor fraud...

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