AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 44) – The Texas Legislature has made its most significant financial investment to combat Organized Retail Crime (ORC) in state history during the 2023 legislative session.
“A top priority for Texas retailers is cracking down on the organized retail crime that fuels the black-market supply chain,” said John McCord, Executive Director of the Texas Retailers Association. “We applaud the Texas Legislature and Gov. Abbott for making this record-setting investment to signal to would-be criminals that Texas is tough on retail theft.”
The Texas Retailers Association says ORC is a term which refers to criminal enterprises that aren’t just “smash-and-grabs” or shoplifters, but instead established networks of criminals who consistently steal large quantities of merchandise for resale on the black market or other nefarious use.
A recent survey uncovered a 26.5 percent year-to-year increase in Organized Retail Crime incidents nationwide. Even more alarming, eight in ten retailers say the incidents are increasingly violent and aggressive, putting both employees and the general public in harm’s way.
To address this growing public safety concern, the Texas state budget for the FY 2024-25 biennium, HB 1, added more than $2.5 million in General Revenue and seven full-time employees to create an Organized Retail Theft Prevention Unit within the Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division.
Additional legislation, HB 1826, requires the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to appoint a task force to study organized retail theft prevention, analyzing its impact on state sales tax collection and making further policy recommendations for the next Texas legislative session.
The Texas Retailers Association says that together, these measures mark the most significant investment to combat ORC in state history.