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Scott Pickrel, CFI named Director of Loss Prevention for Kittery Trading Post
Prior to being named Director of Loss Prevention for Kittery Trading Post, Scott was the owner of EZ Out Bail Bonds for more than three years. Earlier in his career, he spent nearly three years with Walmart in various Asset Protection Manager roles. Over the years, he has also held LP positions with a host of other retailers, including Lowe's, AuzoZone, Citi Trends, Home Depot and Sears. Congratulations, Scott!

Brent Cohen, CFI, LPC promoted to Sr. Program Manager, Organized Retail Crime Investigations Liaison for Amazon

Brent has been with Amazon for more than six years, starting with the company in 2015 as Regional Loss Prevention Manager. Prior to his promotion to Sr. Program Manager, Organized Retail Crime Investigations Liaison, he served as Manager, Global Security Investigations & Threat Management. Earlier in his career, he held asset protection roles with Walmart over the span of 13 years. Congratulations, Brent!

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The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

Murder Rates Surge 37% in America's Big Cities
Cities with the Highest Increase in Homicide Rates During Covid

In determining our sample, we included 50 of the most populated U.S. cities that had locally published homicide data available for our specific time period.

The homicide rate is increasing rapidly in the U.S., so much so that President Joe Biden has made tackling the problem a priority. Alarmingly, homicide rates have risen by an average of 37% in 50 of the most populated U.S. cities between Q4 2019 and Q4 2021, and are still rising.

In order to determine which cities have the biggest homicide problems, WalletHub compared 50 of the largest U.S. cities based on per capita homicides in Q4 2021, as well as per capita homicides in Q4 2021 vs. Q4 2020 and Q4 2019.

See the full breakdown in the graphic below or here: wallethub.com

California's Prop 47 Debate Heats Up
Sacramento DA Candidates Address Their Position on Prop 47
Prop. 47 is a critical issue once again facing California. Passed in 2014 by the voters, it made non-violent drug and property crimes misdemeanors. However, by raising the felony threshold from $450 to $950 for petty theft, some have argued that it has created a rise in theft crimes.

There is now at least one legislative effort to rescind a portion of Prop. 47. The Sacramento DA candidates last week were asked their position on Prop. 47. Here are their responses.

Thien Ho: Number one, I would like to see that domestic violence, for example, be categorized as a violent offense. It's not, under the law. Also, in addition, we want to make sure that we want to target those individuals that are engaging in, theft rings, organized theft rings. There are committing offense says over and over. You see them in the smashing grabs. You see them in those situations. There has to be a level of accountability where if you're not stealing for food, if you're not stealing for your necessity, but you're committing thefts over and over again, there has to be a level of accountability.

Alana Mathews: I think Prop. 47 was a very strong step in the right direction to repair a lot of the harm that has been disproportionately impacted on communities of color. What I will say is that it's been the topic they use for a lot of, and blame for a lot of things that are going on.

It is unacceptable to have these smashing grabs that we are seeing on television and certainly people need to be held accountable, but what's happening is we are not looking at it the whole way. So what I want be as a DA is have a crime strategies unit. So we are being more strategic because what's happening is the, the people of color, the low level they're being paid money to go and do these smashing grabs. But what happens with all that inventory, it gets sold.

That's why you have organized retail theft, and we are not being strategic in analyzing the data and going after the individuals who are actually taking that merchandise and selling it, whether they're selling it online or they're selling it at a Denio's or a flea market. And so I'm happy to see that there's legislation right now that is, being responsive to that crime and to that instances of how that is happening. So we're not going to spend time looking back and blaming policy season of the past, but we're going to be moving forward. davisvanguard.org

Shoplifting is Booming in NYC - And It May Get Even Worse
Op-Ed: Progressives give NYC a shoplifting boom that harms the whole city
Retail theft has soared, with nearly 44,000 reports of it last year - a 36% increase over 2020. The Post filmed another thief in the act at a Rite Aid at 8th Avenue and 50th Street in Manhattan last week, with the perp so cavalier that he spoke openly about it to our reporter, admitting he's been hitting stores for months without getting arrested.

Last year, The Post reported that 22-year-old Isaac Rodriguez had been nabbed for shoplifting 46 times in the first 10 months of 2021 alone; 77 others with 20 or more retail-theft charges are out on the streets.

Fact is, these "petty" thieves rarely get arrested, and when they are, they're generally freed within hours and prosecutors often drop the case. Which leaves drugstores, which offer many small necessities, ripe for the picking.

Now retailers must brace for even more theft, especially in Manhattan, where District Attorney Alvin Bragg has vowed to keep such bandits from ever seeing the inside of a jail cell.

Yet retail thievery takes a toll: Our reporters found empty shelves at a dozen CVS, Duane Reade/Walgreens and Rite Aid stores around the city. Workers where Rapaport filmed say crooks target the place daily. That has outlets boarding: Midtown's Rite Aid at 50th and 8th, where sources report more than $200,000 in stolen merchandise over the past two months alone, is set to close by next month.

Progressives like Bragg think they're preventing injustice, when in fact they're inflicting it on innocent merchants and honest would-be shoppers - the public that they're sworn to protect. nypost.com

Tougher Penalties for 'Flash Mob' Thefts
DA, police chief weigh in on proposed legislation that would enact stiffer penalties for "flash mob" thefts
A Republican-led bill that passed through the state Assembly last week and is headed to the state Senate is targeted at a disturbing trend when it comes to shoplifters and the damage they do to retail outlets.

But locally, where the Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets has been a target of "flash mobs," nothing much will change in how those cases are prosecuted moving forward.

The bill, which passed the Assembly 59-33 without a debate, will allow prosecutors to determine the severity of penalties based on the total value of all the stolen items. Penalties under the current law vary from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the total value.

Legislators here drafted the proposal in response to reports last year of gangs of shoplifters running rampant through high-end department stores in California, according to earlier published media reports. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law in July that re-established the crime of organized crime theft.

"This is a problem in Kenosha County," District Attorney Michael Graveley said. "We've had multiple incidents per year of individuals coming from other locations and going to our outlet mall. I haven't seen it at other places other than the outlet mall, but that has been a problem (in Pleasant Prairie).

Pleasant Prairie Police Chief David Smetana said legislation that targets retail theft specifically is a good start, but other things must occur, too. While the Assembly bill doesn't specifically use language spelling out retail theft, the intent of the proposed legislation targets organized criminal theft.

"If we're specifically talking about retail theft, fantastic, but we all need to be on board," Smetana said. "The retailers need to follow through and file charges and prosecute. That's one of the problems you're seeing nationwide now, just people walking out, authorities not being called. And, all that does is it feeds on itself. It makes the problem bigger because groups of thieves or organized groups of thieves know who is going to prosecute and who isn't; who they're going to be able to walk out on with (goods) and who they're not."

Smetana said oftentimes businesses don't take the next step en route to prosecution. kenoshanews.com

Illinois Lawmakers Debate Retail Crime Legislation
Harmon on retail theft proposals, items from a recent budget poll, pandemic laws and the state of American democracy

Brian Mackey interviewed Senate President Don Harmon on retail crime

Brian Mackey: House Republican Leader Jim Durkin is pushing for a new crime of organized retail theft punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Would you support something like that? Do you support moving back into the realm of enhancing penalties, as they say?

Senate President Don Harmon: I don't think that penalty enhancements work. I think the real motivator is the swiftness and certainty that there will be some punishment. I know Leader Durkin went to the press room and made a big to-do about his proposal. Meanwhile, we Democrats have been working with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association that represents most of the businesses that are directly affected, and are working on putting together a plan that is sensible, that doesn't revolve around penalty enhancements, but addresses the problem in a direct and honest way. I think you'll see a significant proposal coming out of the Democratic caucuses in both the House and the Senate on that topic.

Mackey: Can you say more about what what that will look like if not increasing penalty enhancements, and how that will work?

Harmon: Part of it is trying to make sure we devote the resources to this to make sure that police departments have the personnel to tackle this particular problem. Part of it is trying to shut off the aftermarket. If people can't sell these things they've stolen, easily, they will have much less of an incentive to steal them in the first place. And part of it is looking at how these organized crime rings are actually organized, and seeing if we can't chip away at their ability to put these conspiracies into place. capitolfax.com

Just 2% of Americans Think Rising Crime is #1 Issue
Why rising crime isn't breaking through as a national issue
It's tough to turn on the news these days without seeing stories about rising violent crime rates. Violent crime (whether it be homicide or even carjackings) does seem to have climbed significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.

This has changed perceptions of crime, as an average of Gallup polling over the last two years shows more Americans think crime has risen nationally than at any point since the early 1990s. But a closer look at the data reveals that crime, for the most part, remains a back-burner national issue for Americans, unlike in the 1990s. Crime does, however, have the ability to shape local and state politics.

Just 2% of Americans right now say crime or violence is the most important problem. Last month, it was the same 2%. More than 10 issues rank higher than crime and violence. Some, such as the coronavirus (20%) or economic problems (22%), rank well above it.

These polls are no outliers. A Quinnipiac University poll from November showed a mere 1% put crime or violence as the top problem.

Beyond crime not being seen as a top problem in the country, it's not an issue that most Americans think the federal government should be working on. Just 10% said it's something the government should do something about in a December AP-NORC poll. There were more than 10 other problems that Americans listed higher than crime or violence that the government should address. cnn.com

'This is just getting worse:' Kirkland, Wash. store goes cashless after robbery
"It's hitting everywhere. I've heard this story a thousand times and until it hits you, you don't really quite understand it." To hopefully deter further crime, most of his stores are going cashless.

More businesses are leaving Seattle over growing crime concerns


COVID Update

538.8M Vaccinations Given

US: 75.5M Cases - 907.1K Dead - 45.9M Recovered
Worldwide: 375.8M Cases - 5.6M Dead - 296.8M Recovered

Former Senior Loss Prevention Executive
Know of any fallen LP exec? Let's remember & recognize.

Private Industry Security Guard Deaths: 344   Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: 624
*Red indicates change in total deaths

COVID Cases, Hospitalizations & Deaths

Another Variant Sweeping the Nation
The latest Covid variant is 1.5 times more contagious than omicron and already circulating in almost half of U.S. states

Nearly half of U.S. states have confirmed the presence of BA.2 with at least 127 known cases nationwide as of Friday.

There are already dozens of cases across almost half of the U.S. of a new Covid subvariant that's even more contagious than the already highly transmissible omicron variant.

Nearly half of U.S. states have confirmed the presence of BA.2 with at least 127 known cases nationwide as of Friday, according to a global data base that tracks Covid variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement Friday, said although BA.2 has increased in proportion to the original omicron strain in some countries, it is currently circulating at a low level in the U.S.

The subvariant is 1.5 times more transmissible than the original omicron strain, referred to by scientists as BA.1, according to Statens Serum Institut, which conducts infectious disease surveillance for Denmark.

The new sublineage doesn't appear to further reduce the effectiveness of vaccines against symptomatic infection, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency. cnbc.com

Protecting Security Guards From COVID
Security officers still lack PPE, some infected by Covid19 several times
Carlos Melendez and Charlie Grimes both work for one of the largest private security contractors in the world and they both tell the same story. Neither one has ever received anything other than an occasional face mask during the initial few months when the pandemic began and neither one got vaccinated until they both caught Covid19 for the second time.

Both said that although they work around hundreds of people every day at a large Amazon distribution center, there has never been any urgency shown by their employer or Amazon officials to provide the proper guidance about health safety or to issue the proper PPE regularly.

Kevin Hartwell, a former G4S supervisor has also spoken out about the lack of concern for the frontline security officers who have been working amidst the ongoing virus since it was first discovered in early 2020.

The Transportation Security Administration recently announced that they have lost 34 security personnel to the Coronavirus and have had more than 16,000 employees test positive for the virus though the report did not indicate if some of the employees have contracted the virus more than once.

While Private Officer International, a private security and law enforcement association has spent many manhours tracking national security officer Covid19 related deaths and confirming more than 500 of them, it has been difficult to accurately gather the information because of the lack of reporting by local media and health departments. According to The Officer Down Memorial Page, more than 600 police officers have died from the virus since 2020.

Michael Jon Thomas has worked in the security field for more than thirty years and now owns a small security firm in Colorado and he says that he has witnessed firsthand the lack of concern by both clients and the general public who often act like that Covid is a myth or that it is no longer a medical concern. His security officers have been assaulted, yelled at, and threatened in grocery stores and convenience stores as they tried to enforce the mask rules.  privateofficerbreakingnews.blogspot.com

DOJ-Retail Vaccine Settlement
Justice Department Secures Agreement to Make Online COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Accessible for People with Disabilities at Kroger Grocery Chain
The Justice Department today announced that it has secured a settlement agreement with The Kroger Co. (Kroger) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that will eliminate barriers preventing people with certain disabilities from getting information about COVID-19 vaccinations and booking their vaccination appointments online. Kroger is an Ohio-based retailer with approximately 2,800 retail grocery stores under the Kroger name and other brands, with a presence in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Today's resolution is the department's third agreement on the critical issue of COVID-19 vaccination website accessibility, following settlement announcements in November 2021 (Rite Aid Corporation) and December 2021 (Hy-Vee Inc.).

The COVID-19 vaccine registration portal for Kroger-branded stores, currently located at https://www.kroger.com/health/pharmacy/covid-care, was not accessible to people with certain disabilities, including those who use screen reader software. For instance, critical medical screening questions about current COVID-related symptoms, allergies and reactions to previous vaccines were not read to screen reader users. Further, when a screen reader user selected an available appointment time, the website told them that the available appointment was "unavailable," instead of "selected."

Under today's settlement, Kroger will conform web content about the COVID-19 vaccine, including the forms for scheduling an appointment to get the vaccine, to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Version 2.1, Level AA. WCAG is a set of voluntary industry guidelines for making information on a website accessible to users with disabilities. Kroger also must regularly test the pages of its website that include vaccine scheduling and information about the COVID-19 vaccine, and quickly fix any problems that keep people with disabilities from being able to use these pages. justice.gov

$1.5M Fake COVID Vaccine Card Selling Scheme
Two New York nurses charged with forging Covid vaccine cards to earn more than $1.5 million

Two nurses on New York's Long Island are being charged with forging Covid-19 vaccination cards and entering the fake jabs in the state's database.

Two nurses on New York's Long Island are being charged with forging Covid-19 vaccination cards and entering the fake jabs in the state's database, a scam that allegedly raked in more than $1.5 million.

From November 2021 to January 2022, the pair allegedly forged vaccination cards, charging adults $220 apiece and $85 per child for a fake record that would land in the New York State Immunization Information System database. Prosecutors said that on one or more occasions, DeVuono and Urrano allegedly created records to indicate a vaccine was given to an undercover detective despite never administering the vaccine.

DeVuono's husband Derin DeVuono, who is a New York Police Department officer, is being investigated by the department's Internal Affairs Bureau in terms of his possible involvement in his wife's alleged scheme, sources told the New York Daily News.

Just a month ago, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law criminalizing fake Covid-19 vaccination cards. cnbc.com

How COVID is reshaping downtown Detroit's retail, restaurant landscape

TSA officer said employees worked sick to earn attendance bonus


Lack of Downtown Office Workers Crushes Big City Retail Foot Traffic
Walgreens 'superstore' on Philly's Broad Street will shutter in February

Store once heralded as a game changer is latest downtown retail casualty; observers point to decline in office workers

A three-story Walgreens on Broad Street in Philadelphia, once pitched as a flagship for the pharmacy chain's pivot into American urban centers, will shutter in February.

The 26,000-square-foot store, at Broad and Chestnut Streets, opened in 2013 in a space left vacant by the closure of a Borders bookstore. Part of a national push that saw similar larger-format stores open in eight other cities, the "superstore" featured more fresh and prepared food than a typical Walgreens, as the chain sought to fill a niche typically occupied by neighborhood grocery stores.

The announcement this week comes after several other high-profile Center City retail closures, including a flagship Wawa convenience store at Broad and Walnut, and others at 13th and Chestnut as well as Ninth and South Streets.

Paul Levy, head of the downtown economic development agency Center City District, said numerous factors were driving closures of stores, like the Walgreens location, that were already battered by the pandemic and experienced looting in the wake of mass unrest in 2020, following the murder of George Floyd.

He acknowledged a "concerning" rise in retail thefts -- which increased nearly 20% citywide over the last year, according to police data -- but said the primary driver was overall downtown foot traffic that is still 38% lower than before the pandemic. He attributed the latter to the economically bruising loss of many office workers, tens of thousands of whom were placed on remote work or relocated during the pandemic. inquirer.com

Young Workers Driving the Union Push
A 'Gen U' of young Starbucks baristas is powering a growing push to unionize

To date, more than 30 stores have petitioned the NLRB to organize. The push is being led by younger baristas hoping to have a direct line into management.

From coast to coast, young Starbucks baristas are pushing to unionize their cafes, flexing their collective power against the coffee giant in a fight that could change the broader restaurant industry and its workforce.

After notching a first win late last year, two Starbucks company-owned stores have formally organized after a December vote and hearing before the National Labor Relations Board. To date, more than 30 company-owned stores from Massachusetts to Tennessee and Arizona have filed for union elections at Starbucks, according to a CNBC analysis of NLRB filings. An industry-wide labor crunch and the high-profile union push from Starbucks workers could mean more chains see their employees follow suit.

The petitions to organize have come faster than even those involved first believed possible, according to Richard Bensinger, union organizer with Starbucks Workers United and a former organizing director of the AFL-CIO. But with the group organizing via single-store units, some say the push could take years before reaching critical mass for the coffee giant.

Bensinger said he thinks Starbucks corporate was "caught off guard" by the speed. Hundreds of partners a week are contacting the organizers to learn more about how to petition to unionize, he said. cnbc.com

Businesses Fight 'The Great Resignation'
Restaurant workers are quitting in droves. This is how they are being lured back.

Life insurance, college tuition, and talk about job satisfaction are served up in big portions

The Great Resignation is upgrading restaurant industry benefits and perks. Restaurant owners are offering shorter workweeks, life insurance, mental health services, college tuition and more paths to career advancement. They are giving out free Spotify subscriptions, adding nursing stations for lactating employees, and promising signing bonuses and free food to anyone off the street who fills out an application.

While there has always been high turnover in the industry, restaurants in particular have been ravaged by some of the largest numbers of employees quitting in the Great Resignation sweeping the labor force in recent months.

In response, 84 percent of restaurants reported raising wages, according to the National Restaurant Association, with hospitality industry workers now earning an average of $19.57 per hour, a 13 percent increase from a year ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Still, restaurant workers are restive, switching jobs, leaving the industry, and demanding compensation and perks that would have been inconceivable two years ago. washingtonpost.com

24% Drop in Consumer Confidence - Past 9 Months
Consumer sentiment plunges on Omicron, inflation

Concerns over rising prices and the Omicron variant weighed heavily on consumers' minds regarding the economy throughout January.

Consumer sentiment in January fell 4.8%, sinking to the lowest level since November 2011, according to The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey. The slump was due to two sharp declines separated by a brief interlude of rising optimism.

The initial steep decline occurred in just two months, a 28.9% plunge in optimism from February to April 2020 due to the shutdown in the economy. Confidence recorded an equally strong recovery beginning in late 2020, and rising 23.0% by April 2021. But the upturn was reversed during the past nine months, with the Sentiment Index falling by 23.9%.

While consumers' primary concern is rising inflation and falling real incomes, they may misinterpret the Fed's policy moves to slow the economy as part of the problem rather than part of the solution, warned Richard Curtain, chief economist, Surveys of Consumers, University of Michigan. "The danger is that consumers may overreact to these tiny nudges, especially given the uncertainties about the coronavirus and other heightened geopolitical risks," he said. chainstoreage.com

Adidas to hire more than 2,800 employees in 2022

Bed Bath & Beyond Decluttered Its Stores and Ended Up Frustrating Shoppers

First Coast Security has laid off nearly 300 employees in Florida

Italy's Dolce & Gabbana to ditch fur

Last week's #1 article --

NYC's Shoplifting Explosion - Most Since 1995
NYPD Reports Shoplifting Levels Not Seen In Nearly 30 Years As Organized Retail Crime Ramps Up Nationwide
There's been a spike in shoplifting in New York City. The NYPD says it hasn't seen levels like this since 1995, and elsewhere around the country, organized retail crime is ramping up.

"Seeing a sharp uptick in shoplifts that then turn into robberies," said Michael Lipetri, chief of NYPD crime patrol strategies.

From Jan. 1 through Sept. 12, 2021, the NYPD says there were more than 26,000 complaints for shoplifting compared to the same time period in 2020, which was over 20,000. Lipetri tells CBS2's Alice Gainer the pandemic helped fuel the increase. It's why many products are now locked up at local drug stores.

Then there's organized retail crime, a growing concern around the country. Connecticut just created a task force to deal with it. So have other states like California and Illinois. newyork.cbslocal.com

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'Ransomware Diplomacy' Between Russia & U.S. - Will It Last?
Top Russian official cites REvil arrests as sign of cooperation, says Moscow is awaiting reciprocation

Cyber cooperation between the two countries could suffer as Ukraine tensions mount.

The Russian government's Jan. 14 takedown of suspects associated with the notorious REvil ransomware group was an example of increasing cooperation between the U.S. and Russian governments on cybersecurity matters, a top Russian official said Friday, but the Russian government is still waiting for U.S. reciprocation on its own cyber requests.

In a wide-ranging interview, Dmitry Medvedev, the former president and prime minister of Russia and currently the deputy secretary of the country's Security Council, called the REvil arrests a "joint operation" and "perhaps one of the few areas where, despite very problematic relations with the United States, our cooperation has intensified."

Nevertheless, he added, the Russian government is waiting for definitive answers on what the Russian government considers distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on components of its remote election infrastructure during the September 2021 State Duma elections. The U.S. government has rebutted any notion of outside interference in those elections.

The REvil ransomware takedown factors into all of this, according to experts. After the REvil arrests, Alperovitch called it "ransomware diplomacy," arguing that it was a signal from the Russian government that highly destructive ransomware gangs operating within the Russian government's reach can be controlled - but only if the U.S. government does deter Russian goals in the region.

The timing of the comments could also be coincidence, Shakirov said, noting that ransomware conversations came up during meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden in June 2021, and it took a while for the Russian government to take action. There are a lot of issues beyond the cyber realm that are more regularly discussed by Russian officials, he added, but cyber cooperation and reciprocation is important and could suffer if the situation with Ukraine devolves.

"My personal opinion is if there is some kind of heightened tension, this cooperation on cyber crime might not survive," Shakirov said. cyberscoop.com

Ransomware Breaches Doubles & Data Compromises Increase by 68%
Number of data compromises reaching all-time high
According to an Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) report, the overall number of data compromises (1,862) is up more than 68 percent compared to 2020.

The new record number of data compromises is 23 percent over the previous all-time high (1,506) set in 2017. The number of data events that involved sensitive information (Ex: Social Security numbers) increased slightly compared to 2020 (83 percent vs. 80 percent). However, it remained well below the previous high of 95 percent set in 2017.

AdvertisementThe number of victims continues to decrease (down five (5) percent in 2021 compared to the previous year) as identity criminals focus more on specific data types rather than mass data acquisition. However, the number of consumers whose data was compromised multiple times per year remains alarmingly high.

Other Findings

Ransomware-related data breaches have doubled in each of the past two years. At the current rate, ransomware attacks will surpass phishing as the number one root cause of data compromises in 2022.

There were more cyberattack-related data compromises (1,603) in 2021 than all data compromises in 2020 (1,108).

● The number of data breach notices that do not reveal the root cause of a compromise (607) has grown by more than 190 percent since 2020.

"The number of breaches in 2021 was alarming. Many of the cyberattacks committed were highly sophisticated and complex, requiring aggressive defenses to prevent them. If those defenses failed, too often we saw an inadequate level of transparency for consumers to protect themselves from identity fraud."

"There is no reason to believe the level of data compromises will suddenly decline in 2022. As organizations of all sizes struggle to defend the data they hold, it is essential that everyone practice good cyber-hygiene to protect themselves and their loved ones from these crimes." helpnetsecurity.com

The 'Great Resignation' Hits Cybersecurity Industry
Cybersecurity staff turnover and burnout: How worried should organizations be?
The heightened risk of cyberattacks on businesses is being compounded by significant recruitment and retention issues within cybersecurity teams, making businesses more vulnerable to potential attacks, according to a research from ThreatConnect.

With the number of data breaches in 2021 soaring past that of 2020, there is added pressure on cybersecurity teams to keep businesses secure. The research has found a concerning level of staff turnover, skills shortages, burnout, and low staff morale, pointing towards depleted reserves trying to manage the growing risk.

Cybersecurity teams recruitment and retention issues

Senior decision-makers across the US report an average security staff turnover rate of 20%.
64% of senior decision-makers have seen a rise in turnover over the past year.
43% of US respondents attribute a lack of skills as the biggest barrier for recruitment.
1 in 5 US respondents are considering quitting their jobs in the next six months.
57% of US respondents have experienced an increase in stress over the past six months.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created what many are calling the Great Resignation, which has affected all industries for the past two years. Employees, specifically those in the security industry, are now being expected to do more with less.

Cybercrime has increased significantly over the past year, making digital protection for businesses both more important and more difficult to achieve. Companies cannot afford to lose any security team members with cybercrime increasing so rapidly. helpnetsecurity.com

Apple Security Vulnerabilities
More Security Flaws Found in Apple's OS Technologies

Apple's updates this week included fixes for two zero-day flaws, several code execution bugs, and vulnerabilities that allowed attackers to bypass its core security protections.

Apple's software updates this week for multiple vulnerabilities in its macOS Monterey operating system, iOS, and iPadOS serve as the latest indication of security researchers' and threat actors' growing interest in its technologies.

The flaws included one in macOS that allows attackers to bypass a core OS security mechanism, two that were zero-days at the time they were disclosed, and several that allowed for arbitrary code execution with kernel-level privileges on vulnerable devices.

Among the more critical flaws that Apple fixed this week was CVE-2022-22583. The flaw was tied to a permissions issue in multiple versions of macOS and basically gave attackers, who already had root access on a system, a way to bypass the company's System Integrity Protection (SIP) mechanism. darkreading.com

Why vulnerability scanners aren't enough to prevent a ransomware attack

Who Wrote the ALPHV/BlackCat Ransomware Strain?







Feds Cracking Down on Deceptive Online Reviews
The US government is starting to crack down on companies that hide negative reviews

The Federal Trade Commission went after retailer Fashion Nova, alleging it blocked all but the highest reviews from its website for years.

The US government is starting to crack down on companies that hide negative reviews from consumers.

The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Fashion Nova in its first case regarding a company's involvement in concealing customer reviews, and the retailer has agreed to cough up $4.2 million to settle the allegations, according to a press release issued Tuesday.

The agency says Fashion Nova blocked reviews lower than four out of five stars from appearing on its website and thus "misrepresented that the product reviews on its website reflected the views of all purchasers who submitted reviews."

"Deceptive review practices cheat consumers, undercut honest businesses, and pollute online commerce," said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, in the release. "Fashion Nova is being held accountable for these practices, and other firms should take note."

The FTC alleged in a complaint that the fast-fashion company used a third-party online product review management interface to automatically post four- and five-star reviews to its website. The system withheld lower reviews for Fashion Nova's approval, but the retailer never ended up approving or posting hundreds of thousands of lower reviews from late 2015 to November 2019, the FTC alleges.

Fashion Nova says these allegations are "inaccurate and deceptive." Under terms of the settlement, the company "neither admits or denies" the complaint's allegations. businessinsider.com

Grocers Take On Amazon Using Robots
Ocado unveils lighter robots to help grocery giants like Kroger take on Amazon
U.K. retail tech company Ocado on Wednesday unveiled a suite of new products aimed at helping large grocery chains take on Amazon and a wave of new rapid grocery delivery start-ups.

While Ocado is most well known for its online supermarket, a top focus for the company is robotics and automation tools that it deploys in warehouses to pick and pack items and prepare them for delivery.

Ocado sells its technology to top retailers including Kroger, Britain's Morrisons and France's Casino.

The company announced two new robots as part of its tech showcase Wednesday. The first is its 600 Series bot, which Ocado said is lighter and more energy-efficient than its predecessor, with over half of its parts 3D printed.

The second is a set of advanced robotic arms that pick items directly off the grid in the company's warehouses. Ocado says it's developed artificial intelligence technology to enhance the precision of the arms to something closer to that of human pickers.

Meanwhile, Ocado also touted what it calls a "virtual distribution center" - essentially a combination of software smarts and small micro-fulfillment centers connected through one system. Ocado said the offering would maximize capacity of items in each warehouse while also slashing delivery times. cnbc.com

Analysts say it will take years before Shopify can truly compete with Amazon on logistics and fulfillment







Michael Rapaport returns to NYC Rite Aid where he filmed alleged shoplifter
Michael Rapaport, the actor, returned to the New York City Rite Aid where he filmed an alleged shoplifter calmly walking out of the store with a few bags packed with goods and updated his followers that the store's shelves are now bare. "I'm back in my Rite Aid, and there's nothing to steal because this Rite Aid, like so many other Rite Aids, is closing down because everybody stole everything," he said. "And the workers here don't know if they're getting jobs. Congratulations, losers."

Last week, the "Small Time Crooks" actor posted a video on his Instagram account that he said showed a shoplifter making his way out of the store on 81st Street and First Avenue. The store is scheduled to close on Feb. 15, along with 63 other locations, according to a report in the Daily Mail. The retail giant did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News about Rapaport's claim that the workers there could be out of jobs. Rite Aid told Fox News that it is "in the process of conducting a full investigation and will work with local law enforcement to identify and pursue this offender."

"Like all retailers, we've seen a much higher level of brazen shoplifting and organized retail crime over the last year, and we are taking an active role in helping law enforcement pursue these offenders as well as working with other retailers and local leaders to push for stronger legislation to deter these types of crimes," the statement read. yahoo.com

Matthews, NC: Disguised man steals more than $50K worth of jewelry from Kohl's, Matthews police say
The Matthews Police Department is asking for help as they look for a man they say smashed a store display and took off with about $51,000 worth of jewelry. Officers say the smash-and-grab unfolded on Wednesday, Jan. 26 around 8:30 p.m. Video shared by the department shows the suspect taking out a hammer inside the Kohl's on East Independence Boulevard, shattering the glass. He then runs off as someone approaches him before driving away in a car. Matthews police say the accused thief was disguised as he did this, donning a blonde wig and wearing different clothes when he entered the store. His actual appearance was described as a man with a slim build and dark hair. msn.com

Hanover, MD: Man Arrested After Allegedly Stealing $42K Worth Of Merchandise From Hanover Tattoo Shop
A Columbia man was arrested after he allegedly stole $42,000 worth of merchandise from a Hanover tattoo shop Thursday, Anne Arundel County Police said. Thomas Brown, 55, allegedly smashed a glass display case in Artwell's Body Art and took the unidentified items, then left the area in a taxi, police said. baltimore.cbslocal.com

Loudoun County, VA: Deputy injured, 3 suspects arrested in theft spree
A Loudoun County Sheriff's Deputy was injured Saturday evening while helping apprehend three suspects in a regional crime spree. Around 6 p.m. Saturday evening, deputies from the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) arrived at a Target in Sterling, Virginia, after the store's loss prevention officer had reported three suspects in previous regional larcenies were in the establishment, according to a news release from LCSO. When deputies came on the scene, two suspects who were in the store began to flee. One was apprehended in the store as the second ran outside toward a waiting vehicle driven by a third suspect. As a deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver sped forward, striking the deputy with the front passenger corner of the vehicle. The driver drove off as the second suspect tried to run away. wtop.com

Update: Minneapolis, MN: 6 people charged in organized ambush thefts from Twin Cities stores during Black Friday
Best Buy stores in Burnsville, Blaine and Maplewood were targeted, as well as a Dick's Sporting Goods outlet in Richfield, according to charges. Six people are charged with grabbing thousands of dollars in merchandise in front of stunned shoppers and employees at several Twin Cities retail outlets on Nov. 26, Black Friday.
"This brazen act by an organized group shocked those who witnessed it first-hand as well as the retail community and law-abiding shoppers who were out making purchases ahead of the busy holiday season," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said Friday, when the charges were unsealed in District Court.

Charged with felony theft are Nathaniel Spears, 27, of Albany, Minn.; Raymone Wright, 22, of Minneapolis; Na'Touri K. Ross,c 19, of Minneapolis; and Shaimee N.S. Robinson-Love, 18, of Bloomington. Two 17-year-olds were charged by summons in juvenile court. The Star Tribune generally does not identify minors who are charged as juveniles. Best Buy stores in Burnsville, Blaine and Maplewood were targeted, as well as a Dick's Sporting Goods outlet in Richfield, the charges read. Televisions, computer tablets, a hoverboard and other electronics totaling more than $26,000 were taken by the armloads from the Best Buy stores, the criminal complaints read. Spears, Wright, Ross and Robinson-Love were among "about a dozen other people" who hit the stores on one of the busiest in-person shopping days of the year. The thefts "by an organized group shocked those who witnessed it first-hand as well as the retail community and law-abiding shoppers," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.  startribune.com

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Shootings & Deaths

Memphis, TN: Update: Dollar Tree employee indicted for murder after she followed alleged shoplifter out of store, then shot and killed him
An employee at a South Memphis discount store has been indicted on murder charges after following a suspected shoplifter out of the store last summer and shooting him in the parking lot, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich. A grand jury Thursday indicted Ashley Croom, 32, on a count of second-degree murder. She is being held on $250,000 bond. The incident happened shortly before 5 p.m. on July 22, 2021, at the Dollar Tree store in the 1800 block of South Third Street. Investigators said Croom followed 27-year-old Dewaynne Reed out of the store and confronted him in the parking lot about items he had taken without paying. She pulled a handgun, shot him twice, and took the merchandise back into the store. The case is being handled by Felony Asst. Ryan Thompson of the District Attorney's Vertical Team 2 which prosecutes cases in General Sessions Division 9 (Mental Health Court) and in Criminal Court Division 2. magnoliastatelive.com

Baton Rouge, LA: Arrests made in Sherwood Forest Circle K shooting; victim ID'd as 19-year-old Baton Rouge man
Police arrested 3 people for a deadly shooting at a Circle K on South Sherwood Forest Boulevard, and identified the victim as a 19-year-old Baton Rouge man. Darlin Joel Torrez-Velasquez was shot to dead inside the convenience store shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday, Baton Rouge police said in a news release Saturday morning. Torrez-Velasquez died at the scene, in front of the cashier counter at the gas station mini mart. Late Saturday night, police arrested Christopher Vigil on one count each of first-degree murder, armed robbery and illegal use of a weapon, and Josue Vigil on one count of principal to first-degree murder. A juvenile, age 16, was also arrested in connection with the incident and charged with principal to first-degree murder. theadvocate.com

St Louis, MO: Two dead after car smashes into St. Louis grocery store
Two people are dead after a car flipped onto its side and slammed into a St. Louis grocery store. The accident happened Friday afternoon at a Schnucks store in south St. Louis. The vehicle's driver and passenger - a man and a woman - died hours later at a hospital. No one inside the store was injured. A witness told reporters that the car sped up on the parking lot and struck a concrete barrier, causing it to flip on its side and strike the front of the store. myjournalcourier.com

Chicago, IL: Man found shot to death inside West Pullman store
Ahmed Hassan Abdel Madany was found unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the chest inside a store in the 11600 block of South Halsted Street, Chicago police said. A man was found shot to death Saturday night in a retail store in West Pullman on the Far South Side. About 6 p.m., the man was found unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the chest inside a store in the 11600 block of South Halsted Street, Chicago police said. chicago.suntimes.com

Denver, CO: Business Owner Arrested After Deadly Fight With Employee At Neighboring Store
A man beaten and stabbed in Denver on Friday night was taken to a local hospital where he died, and a suspect is in custody, police said. Ahmed Abdishakur, 47, is being held on investigation of first-degree murder, according to the Denver Police Department. The incident happened at about 8:45 p.m. in the area of 30th and Downing Streets, police said. Witnesses told police that the suspect and victim were fighting and that Abdishakur beat the victim into unconsciousness, according to an arrest affidavit. Abdishakur remained at the scene and at one point was attempting to drag the victim away, witnesses told police. denver.cbslocal.com

Man charged with murder of 78-year-old man in Socorro grocery store parking lot
Deputies arrested a man Saturday in connection with the murder of a 78-year-old man in a Socorro grocery store parking lot. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office arrested 40-year-old Chauhtemoc Sanchez Espinoza in connection with the deadly attack of 78-year-old Rogelio Gonzalez. Socorro police arrived on scene and found two men in the parking lot of the Vista Quality Market, one man standing and one man laying on the ground "unresponsive with no signs of life," according to the sheriff's office. kvia.com


Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Pueblo, CO: Police seeking suspect in Armed Robbery at Lowe's
Police are hoping someone recognizes the man in the photos at the top of this page. He is accused of robbing the Lowe's Home Improvement on Pueblo's south side. Based on the surveillance photos, the suspect appears to be a young, white male wearing a green camo Puma-brand hoodie and black beanie. His mask and sunglasses were pulled away from his face, giving the cameras a clear shot. Police say he has distinctive tattoos on both his face and hands. He left the scene in a dark green vehicle. The police department posted the surveillance stills to Facebook Sunday but did not provide a date for the robbery. kktv.com

La Plata, MD Police Investigating Armed Robbery At La Plata Walmart; Stole AirPods
"This evening at approximately 7:59 p.m., officers responded to a strong-armed robbery at the Walmart on Drury Drive. Preliminary investigation revealed two individuals physically assaulted an employee to obtain access to a locked display case containing AirPods. The employee complied with the demands to open the secured display case and the suspects fled after stealing numerous AirPods. During the incident, at least one of the suspects threatened the employee with a firearm, however no firearm was displayed. The investigation is ongoing." thebaynet.com

Renton, WA: Safeway Shoplifter returns to Renton store, stabs loss prevention agent
A man who was under investigation for robbing a Safeway has been arrested after he returned to the store and stabbed a loss prevention agent. The Renton Police Department said it was called to the downtown Safeway at about 5:03 p.m. Thursday after the suspect returned to the store he allegedly robbed Jan. 15. Five minutes later, another call came in, this time saying the suspect had stabbed the loss prevention agent. A co-worker at the store told Renton police the suspect's name and which nearby apartment he had run into. komonews.com

Greenburgh, NY: Shell Gas Station employee knifed during robbery

Police investigate series of nighttime smash-and-grabs in Colorado Springs

Chicago crime: 1 in custody after 5 burglaries at Hyde Park, Kenwood businesses




Auto - Arlington Heights, IL - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Chicago, IL - Burglary
C-Store - Colorado Springs, CO - Burglary
C-Store - Colorado Springs, CO - Burglary
Gas Station - Greenburgh, NY - Armed Robbery
GameStop - Winnebago County, IL - Burglary
Grocery - Memphis, TN - Burglary
Jewelry - Winnebago County, IL - Burglary
Jewelry -Chesapeake, VA - Robbery
Jewelry -Commerce, CA - Robbery
Jewelry -Chattanooga, TN -Burglary
Jewelry -Costa Mesa, CA - Robbery
Jewelry - San Jose, CA - Robbery
Jewelry - Southaven, MS - Robbery
Jewelry - Vancouver, WA - Robbery
Kohl's - Matthews, NC - Robbery
Lowes - Pueblo, CO - Armed Robbery
Motorcycles - Eagle County, CO - Burglary
Restaurant - Chicago, IL - Burglary
Restaurant - Albuquerque, NM - Burglary
Restaurant - Memphis, TN - Burglary
Tobacco - Colorado Springs, CO - Burglary
Walgreens - Chicago, IL - Burglary
Walmart - La Plata, MD - Armed Robbery
7-Eleven - Colorado Springs, CO - Burglary
7-Eleven - Rochelle Park, NJ - Armed Robbery
7-Eleven - San Diego, CA - Armed Robbery


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

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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Featured Job Spotlights


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Asset Protection Specialist
Portland, OR - posted January 26
The Asset Protection Specialist is responsible for protecting the assets and teammates of Under Armour at the Portland office. Essential Duties & Responsibilities - Development and implementation of policies and procedures focused on maximizing physical security, access control, safety, emergency response, investigations, and minimizing theft and fraud...

District Asset Protection Manager
Denver, CO - posted January 21
As the District Asset Protection Manager you will lead administration of Asset Protection programs and training for an assigned district in order to drive sales, profits, and a customer service culture; Oversees AP Programs by providing leadership and guidance to Asset Protection teams and General Managers on methods to successfully execute programs in stores...

Regional Manager, Asset Protection
Northern PA/NY/NJ- posted January 18
The primary purpose of this position is to supervise and coordinate the efforts of District Asset Protection Managers within their region to achieve maximum shrink prevention, safety awareness and the protection of company assets. This position is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of Asset Protection policies and procedures...

Regional Asset Protection Manager
Central US Remote (Dallas, Chicago, or Houston)
- posted January 6
The successful candidate will be responsible for the management of the Asset Protection function in their assigned area. Guide the implementation and training of Asset Protection programs, enforcement of policies and procedures, auditing, investigations and directing of shrink reduction efforts...

Asset Protection Associate
Charlotte, NC - posted January 4
The Asset Protection Associate (APA) is responsible for the detection, apprehension, or deterrence of customer and associate activity that could result in a loss to Ralph Lauren. APAs are also responsible for ensuring a safe environment for all customers, associates, and vendors. APAs promote and monitor compliance to Polo Ralph Lauren policies and procedures related to theft prevention, safety, and inventory control. The APA is also required to promote awareness and conduct training...

Regional Loss Prevention Manager
Detroit, MI - posted January 4
Support store and delivery center management in the areas of Workplace safety and Loss Prevention (LP). Assist store and delivery centers in compliance with Safety / LP policies and procedures. Serve as main point of contact as the Safety / LP subject matter expert for stores and delivery centers in the assigned Region. Collaborate with other support staff as needed...

Region Asset Protection Manager-South Florida Region (Bi-lingual Required)
Doral, FL - posted December 21
Responsible for managing asset protection programs designed to minimize shrink, associate and customer liability accidents, bad check and cash loss, and safety incidents for stores within assigned region. This position will develop the framework for the groups' response to critical incidents, investigative needs, safety concerns and regulatory agency visits...

Corporate Safety & Security Leader
San Francisco, CA - posted December 15
RH is seeking a Corporate Safety & Security Leader. The role will lead a team of Safety & Security Associates on our Corporate Campus in Corte Madera, CA. The Leader acts as the key point of contact for safety and security incidents including identifying, investigating, mitigating, and managing risks...


Regional Loss Prevention and Safety Specialist
New York, NY - posted November 29
You will act as a coach, trainer, mentor, and enforcer to support the risk management program at Legends. Responsibilities can include, but are not limited to: Identify, develop, and implement improved loss prevention and safety measurements with risk management team; Conduct internal audits that have a focus on loss prevention, personal safety, and food safety, and help the team to effectively execute against company standards and requirements

Safety Director (Retail Background Preferred)
Jacksonville, FL - posted November 3
This role is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing purpose-directed occupational safety and health programs designed to minimize the frequency and severity of customer and associate accidents, while complying with applicable regulatory requirements. This leader is the subject matter expert on all safety matters

Director, Loss Prevention & Safety
Goleta, CA - posted September 24
The Director of Loss Prevention & Environmental, Health and Safety plans, organizes, implements, and directs HERBL's programs, procedures, and practices to ensure the safety and security of company employees and property...

Corporate Risk Manager
Fort Myers, Miami, Tampa FL - posted October 5
Summary of Role and Responsibilities: A proactive approach to preventing losses/injuries, whether to our employees, third parties, or customer's valuables. They include but are not limited to cash in transit, auto losses, or injuries...

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