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Two New ECCs Go Live with TMA's Automated Secure Alarm Protocol

A total of 141 ASAP-enabled ECCs nationwide now protect more than 52M people.

January 24, McLean, VA - The Glenview IL Public Safety Dispatch Center and the City of Allen, TX Police and Fire Communications became the 140th and 141st Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) in the United States to implement The Monitoring Association's (TMA) Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). Launched in 2011 as a public-private partnership, TMA's ASAP service is designed to increase the accuracy and efficiency of calls for service from alarm monitoring centers to Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs).
Read more here

The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

3 Pillars of Fighting ORC: Tech, Partnerships & Legal Frameworks
The new approach retailers are taking to curb organized retail crime

By Tony D'Onofrio, president, Sensormatic Solutions

Not only are criminals getting more sophisticated and less concerned about the repercussions of retail theft, but
the very deterrents designed to stop them can prevent well-intentioned shoppers from making purchases. No matter how retailers look at it, they need new strategies to counter ORC's effects.

While rising crime is the challenge that retailers must overcome, when designing LP strategies, the focus is on the drivers of shrinkage at work in their stores - whether they're related to security gaps, lack of insight or lack of consequences. That means
retailers need a multi-pronged approach that addresses the three key pillars of successful LP: next-gen tech, partnerships and legal frameworks.

Adopting next-gen tech and data helps retailers identify patterns and insights

Advanced algorithms can turn radio-frequency identification
(RFID) data, AI-enabled camera feeds, smart exits and other systems into solutions that address the problem from the source. These systems use information about how merchandise moves and areas that might benefit from more stringent security measures to produce predictive and prescriptive insights unique to each retailer, region and store location. This guides more precise, effective decision-making led by desired outcomes and operational understanding.

How retailers work with law enforcement to understand the scope of ORC

Partnerships with law enforcement and legislators
can help retailers cement the final building block: legal frameworks. Nearly all retailers included in the National Retail Federation's 2023 Retail Security survey (93%) support federal ORC legislation to increase penalties, address interstate crimes and standardize penalties. Working alongside law enforcement may help the industry get closer to legislation of this nature by helping governing bodies get a better sense of the breadth of the problem.

Developing legal frameworks and processes for working alongside law enforcement may also help deter criminals, as the perceived lack of consequences for shoplifters and organized groups has no doubt encouraged criminals. Using evidence packages gathered by AI-enabled systems
can help law enforcement track down perpetrators and recover lost goods, while RFID tagging can help officers return items to their origins modernretail.co

31% of Gen Zers Have Shoplifted from Self-Checkout Lanes
Retailers are scrambling to rollback or tweak their self-checkout technology

Gen Z loves self-checkout because it makes shoplifting easy-and retailers are flailing as they scramble

Young shoppers are more likely to take advantage of the five-finger discount

Gen Z's habit of swiping extends past their phones. T
he young generation of shoppers also admit to swiping from retail stores, a habit that's only become easier with the advent of self-checkout kiosks.

More than half of Gen Z and millennial respondents said that a self-checkout option would be a reason for them to switch retailers, compared 41% of Gen X and 30% of Baby Boomer shoppers. While Gen Z customers said that
self checkout is faster, and they enjoy not having to wait in line or interact with others, there's another reason why they may love self-service shopping: It's easy to steal.

Almost one-third
(31%) of Gen Z shoppers have admitted to shoplifting from self-checkout aisles compared to 15% of shoppers overall, according to a November LendingTree survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers. Almost half of Gen Z participants (46%) said they plan to lift the most expensive item in their cart, while 37% said they will loot the basics, such as food and water.

Self-checkout sleights of hand are having a real impact on retailers, with
Walmart, Costco, and Wegmans are cutting down on kiosks, citing intentional shoplifting as reason for doing so. Satisfying a growing customer base while trying to protect from theft has left retailers unsure how to approach the future of automated checkout.

"While self-checkout is convenient, it certainly poses a risk for shoplifting," LendingTree Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz said in a statement. "Ultimately,
retailers need to decide whether the self-checkout terminals are worth the risk. fortune.com

Calif. Theft Crackdown Data: 1,301 Arrests - $10M in Stolen Goods Returned
Statewide crackdown on retail theft yielding results, CHP numbers suggest

According to CHP data for last year, 320,000 pieces of merchandise were recovered in nearly 550 investigations, 1,301 arrests were made, and more than $10 million in stolen goods were returned

New numbers from the California Highway Patrol suggest a statewide crackdown on retail theft is getting results. Organized retail theft has been on the rise across the country for several years now.
California built a task force specifically to fight it.

According to CHP data for last year,
320,000 pieces of merchandise were recovered in nearly 550 investigations, 1,301 arrests were made, and more than $10 million in stolen goods were returned.

It's absolutely progress," CHP Officer Andrew Barclay said. "When we look at the purpose behind the organized regional crime task force, not only find the individuals committing the crimes, but also anybody involved in these and that includes the people far up the chain."

The task force is coordinated by the CHP but includes various departments around the state with a
focus on busting organized crews targeting everything from big box retailers to small businesses.

One idea being discussed is
changing Prop 47, whether it's in the legislature or on the ballot. A change would allow for longer prison sentences for non-violent crimes. Another idea is stacking multiple misdemeanor shoplifting charges into a single felony. nbcbayarea.com

New 4-State ORC Alliance Already Paying Off
Attorney General Griffin kicks off organized retail crime alliance efforts in Arkansas
Following a meeting today to formally kick off
Arkansas's efforts as part of the Organized Retail Crime Alliance (ORCA), Attorney General Tim Griffin issued the following statement:

"Last summer I was contacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) about joining a regional effort to combat organized retail crime. Since then we have begun
working within Arkansas and across state lines to address this significant criminal element, and today marked our first official meeting of the Arkansas contingent of ORCA.

"Even though this was our first official gathering,
the fruits of our labor and collaboration are already evident. Less than two weeks ago the Blytheville Police Department arrested nine individuals and issued warrants on many more
who were engaging in organized retail crime activity. Those arrests would not have been possible without the cooperation and sharing of information by multiple law enforcement agencies and private sector partners.

Eric DeLaune, acting special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans who also oversees the HSI Arkansas Office, added this statement:

"HSI Arkansas is proud to partner with the Arkansas Attorney General's Office, the private sector and our other law enforcement partners
across the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama to combat this trend of brazen organized retail theft. By pooling our resources and coming together with a common mission, we will be better postured to dismantle the criminal networks and sophisticated money laundering schemes that organized retail criminal organizations rely upon to evade detection and take advantage of retailers and consumers." arkansasag.gov

Shoplifting Crackdown Across the Pond
UK: Thames Valley Police retail crime strategy promises shoplifting crackdown

Shoplifting and other retail crime has not always been tackled effectively, police chiefs have admitted.

Thames Valley Police has
launched a new Retail Crime Strategy, developed jointly with retailers and businesses. Police and crime commissioner Matthew Barber said offences targeting shops were not "victimless crimes". The Association of Convenience Stores welcomed efforts to target "prolific, repeat offenders who blight communities".

Launching the strategy, Mr Barber said
retail crime had a "profound impact" on shop staff, customers and the wider economy. He told the BBC: "If everything was working well, we wouldn't need the strategy.
"We need to make sure that we can set clear expectations for retailers, for the public, so they get the service from the police that they deserve."

The strategy
includes greater use of facial recognition technology to identify prolific shoplifters.
app is being rolled out to share information between businesses and the police, including a "rogues gallery" of those caught on CCTV.

It also promises a
greater visible presence of police officers and PCSOs in retail spaces. Thames Valley Strategic Retail Crime Forum has also been created to strengthen communication between the police and businesses in tackling retail crime. bbc.com

"Most Dangerous Square Mile in America" 
In-N-Out closure fuels claims about Oakland's "most dangerous square mile."
Is there real evidence?

Crime in the city's "deep East" has sparked political backlash

Bars and restaurants come and go, but the impending loss of the city's only In-N-Out Burger is
driving talk of the city's crime problem to the next level. The SoCal-based fast-food chain announced last weekend that the last day of business for its Oakland restaurant will be March 24.

It's a blow to
the city's struggling business scene, especially given that the location was still profitable, according to In-N-Out Chief Operating Officer Denny Warnick, who said in a statement that the restaurant was "regularly victimized by car break-ins, property damage, theft and armed robberies."

The impacts of crime in the area near the airport - part of what's commonly referred to as "deep east" Oakland - have drawn notice across the globe, with conservative British tabloid Daily Mail labeling the neighborhood this week as the
"most dangerous square mile in America."

It is yet
more fuel for the growing political movement targeting Alameda County's progressive leaders, with recall efforts underway against District Attorney Pamela Price and more recently against Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao.

"How much more do we plan to (lose), the
crime is out of control!!!" an X account for the Price recall movement said about the closure.  mercurynews.com

   RELATED: In-N-Out Burger closes Oakland store over crime concerns

Fighting the "Culture of No Consequences" for Retail Theft
Retail theft is a "top priority" for Sacramento lawmakers
Santa Monica's local representative in Sacramento came to town recently to try to reassure local businesses that his
new role overseeing efforts to fight retail theft would target a lack of consequences for criminals while cracking down on organized theft rings.

On Jan. 19, local business leaders were informed on state efforts during a meeting of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce's Hospitality and Retail Committee, discussing a bevy of retail crime issues with California State Assemblymember Rick Zbur. Zbur represents the 51st District, including Santa Monica and much of West Los Angeles, and was recently chosen as the new chair of the state's Select Committee on Retail Theft. In his talk to Chamber committee members, Zbur noted that the
state assembly has made retail theft "one of the priorities to tackle this year," and his new role brings him "a lot of opportunity to really try to help our communities."

Zbur said that the
newly-formed Select Committee has a goal to "provide a forum" for impacted stakeholders, like Santa Monica business owners, to help "identify policy solutions to this ongoing crisis." When asked about Proposition 47 and the $950 threshold that divides misdemeanor and felony theft, he stated that he's "more focused on understanding what's needed to stop" retail theft in the first place, more so than the dollar amount threshold.

The assemblymember also said his
attention lies within addressing the "culture of no consequences" when it comes to even minor amounts of retail theft, sympathizing with businesses that do not have effective intervention tactics for shoplifting.

Another priority for the Select Committee is figuring out how
to "prevent and target" professional organized retail rings, with Zbur stating that he sees how a "small number of thieves are responsible for a large number of retail crimes" in many areas.  smdp.com

Gang of Teen Thieves Force CVS Out of Business in D.C.
'Teen thieves are aware of when new shipments come in and when to best target the store.'

CVS to close after DC thieves ransack location for months, leaving shelves bare
Washington D.C. CVS store will close its doors after a group of sticky-fingered teens routinely ransacked the store, leaving the shelves bare. According to Fox affiliate, WTTG-TV, the pharmacy storefront in Washington D.C's Columbia Heights neighborhood is closing on Feb. 29.

The closing comes months after videos surfaced in Oct. 2023 of
row after row of empty shelves at the CVS store after a group of shoplifting teens ransacked the store. The rampant theft has gotten so bad at the CVS location that customers have begun shopping at other locations for necessities.

According to staff who work there,
45 or more kids regularly go into the store to steal chips and drinks before school, after school, and late at night. CVS employees allege that the teen thieves are aware of when new shipments come in and when to best target the store. foxbusiness.com

Kansas City, MO: Crown Center's silence after shooting 'appalling' to tenants
After six people were wounded in a shooting at Crown Center last Wednesday, tenants of the popular shopping center are criticizing management of the facility for failing to publicly address the incident and provide updates to businesses about security.

Memphis police chief under fire as crime rates reach records

Raleigh, NC: Crime stats, illegal guns seized are up in downtown



Organizations on High Alert for Physical Security Threats
Antisemitism Soars, Creating 'Unprecedented' Threat
More than 3,200 incidents of antisemitism occurred in the U.S. between Oct. 7, 2023, and Jan. 7, 2024, according to preliminary data recently released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)-an increase of 360 percent from the same period last year.

"The American Jewish community is facing
a threat level that's now unprecedented in modern history," Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, said in a statement. "It's shocking that we've recorded more antisemitic acts in three months than we usually would in an entire year."

Since Oct. 7, an average of nearly
34 antisemitic incidents occurred per day, putting 2023 on track to be the year with the highest number of acts against the Jewish community since the ADL began tracking the statistic in the 1970s. According to the ADL, incidents of antisemitism have grown each year since 2020, including incidents at schools and bomb threats toward Jewish institutions.

Jewish Organizations Boost Security Measures

Given the rise of antisemitism even before Oct. 7, many Jewish nonprofit
organizations have ramped up their security measures to protect their employees, according to a survey of 18,212 employees by Leading Edge, an organization that helps Jewish nonprofits improve their workplace culture.

Not only should we keep our teams safe, but we should also keep them informed and empowered so that they personally know what to do in the worst-case scenario of an attack," said Gali Cooks, president and CEO of Leading Edge. "This will give employees more agency and peace of mind, and our data suggests that it also increases employees' trust in the organization's leadership."

Among 15,673 employees at Jewish nonprofits who work outside their home at least part of the week:

85 percent said their organization has a plan for how to respond to physical security threats.
75 percent said they feel their employer is prepared to act if faced with a physical security threat.
14 percent of in-person employees indicated that they do not feel prepared to act in the event of an attack.

Feeling prepared for security threats makes employees more engaged, enabled and confident in their leaders, according to the report.  shrm.org

Happy Employees Can Boost Workplace Safety
Why Happiness Matters at Work

How EHS professionals can use the power of happiness to transform workplace safety.

Research indicates that if you are able to accomplish a higher state of well-being by creating an environment of happiness, then you will get better and more consistent positive results. Research also found that
a 10% increase in well-being can simultaneously decrease absenteeism by 25%. Creativity will be much higher, teams will be more collaborative and people will remain in their positions longer. In other words, if workers are happy, you'll have less turnover and be better positioned to reach your desired end results, such as zero incidents or no environmental spills.

If workers aren't getting hurt, then more workers are able to show up and do their job. That means fewer days off work due to injury. That means less scrambling to maintain safe staffing levels and better team morale. That means the money that was being spent on workers' compensation claims can instead go toward new personal protective equipment, new technology or new safety programs to address other areas of concern.

That means
safety can improve in different ways because budget and dollars go farther. That makes a safety professional's job easier when they talk budgets with or need to get buy-in from management. Plus, a company that is a great place to work can more easily withstand some of the current challenges, such as labor shortages.

Shifting the focus to happiness will make EHS people more creative by putting them in a better position to look for waste or overburden, which can lead to injuries or workers getting burned out or leaving. Thus, happiness and well-being are not just good for individual employees; rather, creating a happy and positive work environment is paramount to building successful organizations. ehstoday.com

'Retail Reset' Coming?
Macy's And Wayfair Cut Staff While Walmart Closes Stores, Signaling A Retail Reset
a year when retail grew 3.5% overall and November-December 2023 holiday sales were even more robust, advancing 3.8%, retailers are going into 2024 with wind in their sales.

Yet, Macy's, Wayfair and Walmart are among the retailers announcing l
ayoffs and store closings as these forward-looking retailers ready for a reset in 2024.

While the economy dodged a recession bullet in 2023, it is not out of the woods yet. The Conference Board said that despite the
prospects for a 'soft landing' are on the rise, "It is more probable that the U.S. economy will slip into a short and shallow recession in 2024."

It warned of consumer spending headwinds coming from interest rates, rising debt and falling savings. It also noted a cooling labor market and that inflation continues at a rate well above the ideal at or below 2%.

"The labor market looks set to cool further this year, which will impact consumer expectations for employment and wage growth, and, in turn, affect spending decisions. Spending is elevated relative to current income, and
maintaining the recent pace of growth will be increasingly difficult," he concluded. forbes.com

Big Y to open stores at plazas where Amazon Fresh grocers were planned

Nearly 1 in 5 Retail Subscribers Prefer to Shop in-Store

Senior LP & AP Jobs Market

Divisional Director, AP - North Texas job posted for Macy's in Plano, TX
The Divisional Director, Asset Protection serves as the Division Lead in Asset Protection execution, providing hands-on direction and assistance to all stores and divisions within the assigned area in all asset protection-related areas. Leading Senior Investigators & Training in assigned markets, they drive the Asset Protection and shortage program in assigned stores to achieve their shortage goals and maximize profitability, inclusive of internal investigations. ebwh.fa.us2.oraclecloud.com

Senior Manager, ORC Investigator job posted for Macy's in Boston, MA
Develop your skills with opportunities to specialize in areas such as Investigations, Organized Retail Crime, and Asset Protection Training. Join a team of colleagues who are committed to excellence and leadership development. Proactively identify organized retail crime (ORC) activity and trends. Develop strategies to reduce organized retail criminal activity against Macy's. Perform other duties as assigned. ebwh.fa.us2.oraclecloud.com

Director, Cyber Security Architecture job posted for Western Union in Denver, CO
In this pivotal role, you will report to the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and be responsible for enabling the implementation of the cybersecurity organization's strategy and architecture. This role also provides strategic technical leadership across the organization to ensure cybersecurity controls, measures, and investments are closely aligned with our business strategy. careers.westernunion.com

Fleet Safety Training & Communications Senior Manager, Asset Protection job posted for Walmart in Bentonville, AR
In this critical role, you will be responsible for developing and implementing effective communication strategies to ensure consistent and timely distribution of fleet safety information to all field employees. You will also be responsible for creating and delivering training programs, developing, and maintaining policies, procedures, and guidelines, and providing continued oversight of governance documents. walmart.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com

Cool Job!
Director, Security job posted for the Arizona Cardinals in Tempe, AZ
Collaborating closely with the VP, Security, this position will be responsible in elevating the Security Department by setting and managing an expectation of world-class safety and security. The Director of Security ("DOS") should have a law enforcement background with experience in management of both operational and support functions. recruiting2.ultipro.com

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The Great Debate Over Ransomware Payments: To Pay or Not to Pay?
'Payment may be the only viable option, or in many cases a much cheaper option'

Will the movement to ban ransom payments gain steam in 2024?

Policies and regulations around ransomware payments are widely expected to change in 2024, but how and to what effect remains in flux.

Debates around how to curtail ransomware activity are getting louder and shifting. There's little agreement from cybersecurity experts and officials on the best way to impede ransomware, but
federal policy is often viewed as an important, albeit slow-moving mechanism to ebb the flow of attacks.

AdvertisementAs debates and policy discussions gain momentum, there is ample evidence that the status quo isn't working. Ransomware victims in the U.S. paid $1.5 billion in ransoms between May 2022 and June 2023, a senior administration official said in November.

5,200 organizations were hit by ransomware attacks in 2023, according to Rapid7. NCC Group concluded ransomware attacks increased 84% to almost 4,700 incidents in 2023.

Some policy changes are already underway as part of the Biden administration's national cybersecurity strategy, including a public-private collaborative effort to develop and adopt technology that's secure by design and default. Policies directly targeting ransomware, such as a more strict ban against ransom payments, remain theoretical but are gaining more support.

"From a purely ethical perspective,
they should be banned. That would have a positive impact, because if the crime doesn't pay, the criminal would stay away," said Tim Morris, chief security advisor at the cybersecurity vendor Tanium.

"For an ill-prepared organization where ransomware has disrupted operations, then
payment may be the only viable option, or in many cases a much cheaper option," Morris said. cybersecuritydive.com

'Stolen Device Protection'
Apple debuts new feature to frustrate iPhone thieves
Besides fixing an actively exploited zero-day vulnerability, the latest update for the iOS 17 branch offers a new feature to
help you protect your accounts and sensitive information in case your iPhone gets stolen.

Stolen Device Protection

If enabled, the Stolen Device Protection feature
makes it difficult for iPhone thieves to switch certain features on or off and perform certain actions if your iPhone is not at a familiar location such as your home or work place.

Fleeing crooks who may have stolen your iPhone after "shoulder surfing" your passcode (or having forced you to share it) will still be able to access your phone, but won't be able to:
Use passwords or passkeys saved in Keychain or payment methods saved in Safari; Turn off Lost Mode or erase all content and settings; Use your iPhone to set up a new device; Apply for a new Apple Card, view an Apple Card virtual card number, or take certain Apple Cash and Savings actions in Wallet

That's because the
iPhone requires them to also successfully pass Face ID or Touch ID authentication. Stolen Device Protection also enforces a security delay of one hour for making changes to critical security settings or the user's Apple ID.  helpnetsecurity.com

10 top cyber recovery providers

A different approach to give organizations power over their data and more tools to recover when an attack happens is necessary: cyber recovery.

Acronis Cyber Protect and Cyber Protect Cloud
Cohesity Data Protect, DataHawk, FortKnox, and SiteContinuity
Dell PowerProtect Cyber Recovery
Rubrik Threat Containment and Cloud Vault
Veeam Data Platform
Veritas 360 Defense
Zerto csoonline.com

CISA Joins ACSC-led Guidance on How to Use AI Systems Securely
CISA has collaborated with the Australian Signals Directorate's Australian Cyber Security Centre (ASD's ACSC) on Engaging with Artificial Intelligence-joint guidance, led by ACSC, on how to use AI systems securely. The guidance provides AI systems users with an overview of AI-related threats as well as steps that can help them manage AI-related risks while engaging with AI systems.

To learn more about how CISA and our partners are addressing both the cybersecurity opportunities and risks associated with AI technologies, visit CISA.gov/AI.

Why resilience leaders must prepare for polycrises

"Activator" Alert: MacOS Malware Hides in Cracked Apps, Targeting Crypto Wallets







How much do you know about
cannabis security?

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In Case You Missed It

The Evolving Cannabis Security Landscape
Commercial Security Meets the Needs of Evolving Cannabis Industry
The shifting legal landscape aside, the dynamic increase in legal cannabis businesses represents a new growth market for commercial security providers, along with responsibilities for integrators to apply their professional expertise in risk assessment, project management, and innovative technologies to implement code-compliant systems that best protect these emerging, high-risk enterprises.

Cash Businesses

Until federal legislation is passed to ease banking restrictions, most cannabis dispensaries are forced to remain cash-heavy operations. Dealing in a high-demand, highly regulated product like cannabis increases the potential for armed robbery and burglary, as well as internal theft, tampering, counterfeiting, organized retail crime, and even espionage. Therefore, the need is urgent for these cannabis businesses to seek experienced security, fire, and life safety professionals to evaluate risks with a critical eye on the specific type of operation - whether that be a dispensary, manufacturing site, or cultivation facility.

Licensing - Don't Go There Alone

Before the conversation about security, fire, and life safety solutions can begin, cannabis businesses must first become licensed to operate in their city and state by meeting compliance standards and navigating the extremely complicated and competitive licensing process. As independent-spirited entrepreneurs, new cannabis business owners may be accustomed to making decisions and doing things on their own. So, it may be unusual for them to seek professional guidance for the rigorous, detailed security requirements mandated by licensing authorities. This is where identifying a trusted security partner is absolutely critical.

Safety Training, Compliance, & Security Interwoven | Innovation Systems to Improve Business Operations | Preparing for the Future Today: sapphirerisk.com

Black Market Cannabis Shops Flourishing in NYC
Over 30 illegal weed shops surround single legal cannabis dispensary in this popular NYC neighborhood - causing haziness among 'confused' customers
More than
30 unregulated weed vendors surround a licensed cannabis dispensary in the Lower East Side - smoking out its business as "confused" customers struggle to differentiate between the two.

AdvertisementThe plight of ConBud, which opened in October on Delancey and Orchard Streets, is representative of a citywide problem - with an estimated 1,500 illicit pot shops encroaching on just 16 licensed dispensaries almost three years after recreational marijuana sales were approved by state lawmakers.

I didn't think it would be this big of a problem. It's a lot of competition," said Coss Marte, a co-founder of ConBud. "I'm operating in a mature market already."

Expecting a rush of customers looking for high quality, legal weed, Marte and his partners designed the shop layout to accommodate long queues and heavy foot traffic. Yet on Tuesday afternoon, the shop had the calm vibe of a designer boutique,
not a bustling retail store.

"The clientele base and the community base already felt like it was legalized, and
it's confusing that I now have to market that to the consumer," said Marte, who was granted one of the first licenses to sell marijuana after serving six years in prison for dealing weed. nypost.com

Policing Becomes More Complicated Amid Evolving Pot Laws
Should marijuana odor be enough to prompt police pullover? Md. GOP says yes
Republicans are pushing to repeal a controversial Maryland law that prohibits police from pulling over and searching drivers simply because they smell of marijuana, but Democratic leaders say they aren't interested in dramatic changes to the state's cannabis legislation this year.

Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore City, says Democrats are only considering what they refer to as "improvements" to Maryland's cannabis law, following its legalization for adult use last year.

In 2023, the Maryland General Assembly passed the new "odor" law hoping to prevent unwarranted search and seizure against people of color, according to members of Maryland's Legislative Black Caucus, who were proponents of the bill. With Democrats controlling both chambers of the General Assembly, their opposition to repeal makes it unlikely.

But critics of the law - Republicans in particular - say
the law is making it harder for police to do their jobs. cannabisbusinessexecutive.com

2024 Dispensary Case Study; Transforming the In Store Experience

NYC will soon let you grow marijuana at home. Here are the proposed rules.




Police Will No Longer Be Allowed to Request Ring Video Footage
Amazon's Ring will stop allowing police to request doorbell video footage from users

Amazon's Ring said it will no longer allow police to request user footage in its neighborhood watch app called Neighbors.

Amazon's Ring
will no longer allow police to request users' doorbell video footage in its neighborhood watch app.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Ring said this week it
plans to discontinue its "Request for Assistance" tool, which allowed law enforcement to submit requests for users' footage in their communities through a publicly accessible post in its Neighbors app.

"Public safety agencies like fire and police departments can still use the Neighbors app to share helpful safety tips, updates, and community events," Eric Kuhn, head of Neighbors, wrote in the post. "
They will no longer be able to use the RFA tool to request and receive video in the app."

Ring in 2021 made police requests for user footage public in its Neighbors app.
Previously, law enforcement could message users privately to request clips from their smart doorbell cameras.

Police can still obtain Ring video footage using a search warrant or subpoena. In response to a 2022 letter from Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.,
questioning its police partnerships, the company disclosed that Ring may provide footage directly to law enforcement "in cases involving imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to any person."

Ring has long sparked controversy about privacy due to its
controversial partnerships with hundreds of police departments across the U.S. Privacy advocates have expressed concern that the program, and Ring's accompanying Neighbors app, have heightened the risk of racial profiling and turned residents into informants, with few guardrails around how law enforcement can use the material. cnbc.com

Ranking E-Commerce Grocers
Study: Target, Walmart and Albertson's overall top e-commerce grocery performers
A new study underscore the critical role that
seamless online shopping experiences and flexible fulfillment methods play in driving grocery shopper satisfaction.

That's according to market research and polling company Ipsos, whose report ranks the performance of top 17 grocery brands on e-commerce methods and digital transformation.
Target, Walmart and Albertson's emerged as overall top performers within the American retail grocery landscape, with each seeing marked improvements year over year.

The rankings varied, however, across different shopping methods:

For the delivery category, respondents viewed Whole Foods Market as the grocer with the best communication (with 83% "very satisfied"), while Albertson's was the brand shoppers said they were most likely to buy from again (61% extremely likely to use again).

For curbside pickup, Albertson's ranked highest (with 97% very satisfied), while Amazon Fresh was the brand that shoppers said they were most likely to use again (76% extremely likely to use again). chainstoreage.com

Amazon axes UK insurance business

Photos show the bizarre items shocked buyers received after shopping online





Oak Brook, IL: Police chief calls migrant criminal activity a 'real problem' after 6 charged with retail theft
Charges have been filed against six migrants in two unrelated retail thefts that occurred in Oak Brook this week. Around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oak Brook police officers responded to a call about a theft at the Macy's department store located at 1 Oakbrook Center. While investigating, detectives learned that 28-year-old Elvis Rodriguez-Rubio, 30-year-old Gabriela Salzar-Vasquez, 33-year-old Victor Sevilla-Arteaga and 27-year-old Danielis Vasquez-Arteaga allegedly entered Macy's and went to the Tommy Hilfiger section, where Vasquez-Arteaga and Salazar-Vasquez selected merchandise and then took it to the second floor. Additionally, it is alleged that Salzar-Vasquez and Vasquez-Arteaga took shoes, entered a fitting room and exited the fitting room wearing the merchandise.
The four suspects then allegedly exited the store wearing the merchandise, which totaled approximately $927.99. At that time, they were met by a loss prevention officer. As a result, all four suspects, who are from Venezuela, but are currently staying in Countryside, were each charged with one count of burglary and one count of retail theft. A judge denied the state's motion to detain the four suspects pre-trial. Later that day, at about 6:28 p.m., Oak Brook police officers responded to another call of a retail theft at the Macy's department store. Prosecutors say that Nicolas Paillacan-Bravo, 20, and David Saez-Vega, 34, entered Macy's and began removing anti-theft devices from merchandise with a magnet they brought with them. The duo then allegedly took 54 items worth $10,155.49 and placed them into two suitcases they obtained from the luggage department before leaving the store without paying for the merchandise. At that time, the two were met by Oak Brook police officers. The two men, who are both from Chile, but are currently staying in Chicago, are each charged with one count of burglary and one count of retail theft. A judge denied the state's motion to detain the suspects pre-trial. "I believe that six felony arrests in one day illustrates that migrant criminal activity is a real problem," said Oak Brook Chief of Police Brian Strockis. "The amount of these types of arrests that we have had in the last couple of months is significant and would be taxing for any police department. We are well prepared to continue our enforcement efforts and I can assure you that there are easier places to commit these crimes than Oak Brook or DuPage County."  fox32chicago.com

El Cajon, CA: Thief loads suitcase with merchandise at Marshalls store
It was strictly business for a thief in East County who entered a Marshalls store with a suitcase in hand on Tuesday afternoon. The El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) said once inside the store, the suspect - now identified as 51-year-old Edwin Cruz Diaz - filled the case with merchandise. He then reportedly exited the store without paying for the goods. Police responded to the area and located Cruz Diaz a short distance away. The suitcase was still in his possession at the time with the store items in tote. He was arrested on suspicion of grand theft, police said. During a follow-up investigation, ECPD discovered Cruz Diaz had an active warrant for robbery. As it turns out, the man has an extensive police record, including a multitude of theft, narcotics and weapons charges. 

El Cajon, CA: Shoplifter punches Aldi employee in East County
It was a short stint for a pair of grocery store bandits in East County who were quickly arrested after back-to-back robberies on Tuesday evening. The El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) said the first encounter occurred when a woman entered the Walmart on Fletcher Parkway around 6 p.m. The woman reportedly filled a shopping cart with merchandise and then fled the store without paying for the goods. Police said witnesses saw the woman get into a white Nissan Sentra, which appeared to be driven by another woman. Officers responded to the area but were unable to locate the suspects or vehicle at that time. Fast-forward about 30 minutes, ECPD said it was reported that two women entered the Aldi grocery store located at 123 Fletcher Parkway. Once again, a shopping cart was filled with merchandise and the women attempted to leave the store without paying. Things escalated after an employee tried to stop the pair from leaving. According to police, one of the suspects punched the worker, causing a minor injury. At that point, the other companion reportedly exited the store first and staged a white Nissan Sentra near a freeway onramp. Officers arrived shortly after and detained the women, ECPD confirmed. Stolen merchandise was found inside the vehicle. The women - identified as 29-year-old Alex Smith and 30-year-old Elaine Bouis-Medrano - were both arrested and booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility on felony charges. 

Fairfield, CA: First degree robbery suspect arrested after fleeing Fairfield store
One person was arrested on suspicion of first degree robbery following an incident at a Fairfield retail store. According to a release issued by the Fairfield Police Department, an employee at a Fairfield retail store called in a report of a strong arm robbery in progress just after 3 p.m. on Jan. 19. The caller stated that a man and a woman had selected approximately six bags worth of merchandise and went to the self checkout, but the woman only scanned four items before attempting to leave the store with the rest of the items unpaid for. "When an employee confronted them, the woman pushed the employee and grabbed four bags, while the man with her grabbed two," read the released statement. Officials said the two suspects then fled outside through separate doors to a bright orange getaway vehicle before leaving the area. The store employee was able to obtain the license plate number of the getaway vehicle and provided it to officers, who were quickly able to locate the car. 

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Shootings & Deaths

Garner, NC: Man shot, killed during altercation in Walmart parking lot, customers react: 'Shouldn't be like this'
Police in Garner say a man has died after being shot in the chest during a dispute in a store parking lot. According to police, the shooting happened in the parking lot of the Walmart on Fayetteville Road. During the investigation, police learned that two men got into some type of altercation and shots were fired. One man was hit in the chest and died from his injuries, Garner PD said. Another man was taken into custody for questioning. Police didn't reveal what the altercation was about. Police said they are talking to witnesses and looking for surveillance video that could help in the investigation.  abc11.com

Update: Dallas, TX: Police release surveillance video of double homicide near Dallas beauty supply store
Dallas Police have released surveillance footage of a shooting that left two men dead just days after Christmas in what they've classified as a capital murder case. It happened at a strip shopping center in Pleasant Grove in broad daylight just after 9 a.m. on Dec. 27. Surveillance shows a red Nissan Sentra pull into the parking lot at the 9500 block of Scyene Road. Two men are seen standing on the sidewalk talking. Four suspects jump out of the car and open fire. 22-year-old Jamarcus Irving and 51-year-old Morland Smith were killed. Smith's sister, Stephanie Sharpe, agreed to speak to us over the phone, fearful that her brother's killers are still on the run. "For me, it is still unreal," she said. "It's been very difficult for me as a sister to lay my older brother down." She said he was a bystander just there to grab breakfast that morning. In the surveillance footage, at least one of the shooters appears to have a semi-automatic rifle. A memorial has grown where the men were gunned down. This week, Smith will attend her brother's memorial service and hopes his murder is solved.  nbcdfw.com

Charlottesville, VA: Update: Teen headed to court for Fashion Square mall shooting that injured 2 men and dog
This March, a week before his 20th birthday, Jalontae Truriel Percer will go on trial. The Albemarle County 19-year-old is accused of shooting two men and a puppy after he and his friends were told last fall to leave a cannabis dispensary at Fashion Square shopping mall north of Charlottesville. "You guys are banned from the mall," Supreme Green's owner and manager Jerome Henry allegedly told Percer and three other teens shortly before the Sept. 13 shooting in the mall's parking lot. "Don't come back to the store." That detail was among several revealed at a preliminary hearing held on Dec. 2 in Albemarle County General District Court and transcribed by a court reporter. Henry and employee Eliazar Prieto each testified that they were shot by Percer as they were driving past a mall entrance shortly after 7 p.m., moments after dismissing the teens.  dailyprogress.com

Hartford, CT: 2 arrested after shots fired, smash and grab incident at gas stations in West Hartford
Two people were arrested after a shots-fired incident at a gas station Wednesday morning in West Hartford. The incident occurred at the Shell gas station at 338 Park Road. After arriving on scene, officers determined that two customers, Jamie Rocha-Olivares and Nicole Beagel, had argued with a store employee that there were no more smoking devices. During the argument, the clerk held a baseball bat and the Rocha-Olivares pointed a gun at the employee. Police said Rocha-Olivares discharged his gun during the incident but no one was hurt. After a struggle, officers were able to take Rocha-Olivares into custody as he resisted arrest. Police had to use a taser and physical restraints. "I saw a bunch of cops here, a whole bunch of them and they were all outside I don't even know really what happened," said Earnest Brown, West Hartford resident.  wtnh.com


Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Fenton, MO: Walmart employee robbed at gunpoint in Fenton
Authorities are searching for a suspect after an armed robbery Wednesday morning at a Walmart store in Fenton. The robbery happened just before 9 a.m. at the Walmart at 653 Gravois Bluffs Blvd. Investigators say the suspect robbed a clerk at the service desk after briefly holding the clerk at gunpoint. The suspect took off with several undisclosed items. No injuries were reported in the robbery. Police are searching for a suspect, but have not yet disclosed any information on the suspect or a possible motive.  fox2now.com

Chicago, IL: Smash-and-grabs: 4 stores burglarized overnight
In each incident, responding police officers found the front glass window or door of the store had been shattered and merchandise had been stolen from inside, according to CPD. The first smash-and-grab took place around 1:35 a.m. at a Lincoln Park liquor store on North Halsted Street. Around 3 a.m., a burglary was reported at a clothing store in the 100 block of North Peoria Street on the Near West Side. Roughly 25 minutes later, a liquor store was broken into and burglarized in the 3400 block of North Southport in Lake View. A cosmetics store in the same block was also burglarized minutes later, police said. Police have not said if they believe the overnight burglaries are connected. There is no one in custody. Area Three detectives are investigating.  fox32chicago.com

Cobb County, GA: Crew tied to $500,000 in burglaries across three states caught in Georgia
A string of burglaries across three states ended with multiple arrests in Georgia, police say. Officers got a call Thursday, Jan. 18, about a burglary on Riverview Drive in Cobb County, police said in a Jan. 23 news release. Cobb County investigators said the crew had been tied to multiple burglaries in Indiana and Virginia that topped $500,000 in losses. They were also suspected in a burglary in Duluth, Georgia, that led to a $70,000 loss. The group was believed to be working out of hotels on Franklin Gateway in Marietta, according to police. Officers located and arrested the suspects at a Hampton Inn and found nearly $30,000. The crew was also caught with various gift cards, according to police. Authorities didn't say how many suspects were involved but said all were booked into the Cobb County Jail.  news.yahoo.com

Omaha, NE: Caught on Camera: Man suddenly attacks convenience store worker
A sudden and unexpected attack inside an Omaha convenience store was caught on camera, and the suspect made no attempt to hide his identity. That's why Omaha Crime Stoppers hopes someone will easily recognize him. The attack happened inside the "NP Mart" near 60th and Taylor. Investigators said about 8:15pm on January 18th a worker was cleaning inside the store when, for some reason, a man started yelling at her. The video showed the man eventually walking away from the woman, mumbling to himself. She may have thought everything was over, but the man came back and this time he shoved her to the ground. The woman hit her head on a refrigerator and remained lying on the floor. After leaving her for a few moments, the suspect came back again, leaned over, and screamed at the woman before leaving. Another employee went over and locked the store's front door, which prevented the suspect from getting back at the woman. In the video, the man can be seen screaming and hitting the door.  ketv.com

Brookfield, WI: Woman accused of short-changing Brookfield Old Navy cashier by hundreds of dollars
Brookfield police are looking for a woman who short-changed an Old Navy cashier by more than $600. Police said she took $1,006.45 worth of merchandise to the counter. She then counted out $1,000 in 10 stacks of $20 bills. The woman picked up the stacks of cash and combined them into one. When she handed the stack to the clerk, she kept approximately $600 and only gave the cashier $400, police said. The woman left the store with all $1,006.45 worth of merchandise. According to Old Navy Loss Prevention, the same woman has been reported doing this in Minnesota.  wisn.com

Starbucks Fires 2 Baristas Who Collared Robbers of South Grand Store
Two hero baristas have been fired by Starbucks after preventing the store where they work from being robbed. On Sunday, December 17, two men walked into the coffee shop at 212 South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis, carrying what appeared to be guns and telling everyone in the store to get on the ground and give up any valuables they had on them. However, when 37-year-old Joshua Noe, of Potosi, struck a patron over the head with his supposed gun, it cracked. Realizing the men were not armed, the would-be victims turned the tables on the would-be robbers. Two of the people who fought back were store employees Michael Harris and Devin Jones-Ransom. An attorney for Harris says that he was struck in the face, leading to a struggle. "Harris complied with the robbers' demands until it was no longer an option for himself and others," says Ryan Krupp, who represents the former Starbucks worker. Krupp says that after being struck, Harris realized he needed to take action or risk being killed. Harris, Jones-Ransom and other patrons fought back, eventually managing to subdue Noe until police arrived. Noe's alleged accomplice, Marquise Porter-Doyle, 35, of St. Louis, fled the store but was later apprehended. In his booking photo, Noe indeed looks pretty banged up, with a bloody bump on his head and dazed expression on his face. "I just wanted to do the right thing as a person and as an employee," Harris said in a statement. Combined, Noe and Porter-Doyle are now facing more than 20 felony charges for robbery, attempted robbery and assault in St. Louis Circuit Court.  riverfronttimes.com

St Louis, MO: Prolific burglary suspect facing 70-plus charges spanning 15 months across St. Louis



Beauty - Chicago, IL - Burglary
C-Store - Lincoln Parish, LA - Burglary
C-Store - Hartford, CT - Burglary
C-Store - Hartford, CT - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Acadiana, LA - Burglary
C-Store - Jackson, WY - Burglary
Clothing - Methuen, MA - Robbery
Clothing - St Louis, MO - Burglary
Clothing - Fairfield, CA - Robbery
Clothing - Chicago, IL - Burglary
Cellphone - Memphis, TN - Armed Robbery
Dollar - St Louis, MO - Burglary
Grocery - El Cajon, CA - Robbery
Jewelry - Danbury, CT - Burglary
Jewelry - Willow Grove, PA - Robbery
Liquor - Chicago, IL - Burglary
Liquor - Chicago, IL - Burglary
Macy's - Oak Brook, IL - Robbery
Marijuana - Detroit, MI - Burglary
Marshall - El Cajon, CA - Robbery
Restaurant - Kings Mountain, NC - Burglary
Restaurant - Milwaukee, WI - Burglary
Walmart - Fenton, MO - Armed Robbery
Walmart - El Cajon, CA - Robbery                                    


Daily Totals:
• 10 robberies
• 14 burglaries
• 0 shootings
• 0 killed

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None to report.

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