POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is taking a preemptive strike against retail theft crime sprees that have been reported in other states.
According to Moody’s office, 70-percent of U.S. store owners have reported an increase in crime over the last year.
To prevent what she called “lawlessness” in Florida, Moody’s office launched the “Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange,” or FORCE.
The first-of-its kind task force will utilize a new database that will help law enforcement identify trends and suspects in organized retail theft rings.
The database will hold searchable information on theft incidents throughout the state that can be shared between retailers, law enforcement, and prosecutors.
“As Attorney General, I am always searching for new and innovative ways to combat crime and assist law enforcement in bringing criminals to justice,” Moody said in a statement. “I’m excited to launch the task force and interactive database bridging together law enforcement, prosecutors, and retailers in an effort to share information on retail crime throughout the state and stop these criminals before they cause more harm.”
The database will be operated by the Attorney General’s Office and the Florida Retail Federation.
Retailers will be able to upload data about recent retail thefts that includes information on the items stolen, suspect descriptions, and methods of operation.
Once uploaded, the information becomes available to law enforcement agencies and other retailers throughout the state, improving the chances of linking suspects to related crimes.
According to the National Retail Federation, organized retail theft costs businesses in Florida and across the United States an estimated $30 billion every year.
Cox Media Group