Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has announced a partnership between public and private entities designed to combat the increase in organized retail crime. The Attorney General’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force is the first large-scale, public-private collaboration of its kind in Illinois and is designed to foster cooperation among retailers, online marketplaces, law enforcement agencies and state’s attorneys dedicated to targeting organized retail crime enterprises.

Organized retail crime has increased dramatically over the last two years. According to the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, organized retail theft accounts for $45 billion in annual losses. The problem has only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, with CVS estimating a 30% increase in thefts.

The Organized Retail Crime Task Force is comprised of career investigators and attorneys from the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement Division working in concert with the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Illinois State Police, local police departments, the Cook County Sheriff’s office, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Association of State’s Attorneys. The task force will consult with retail advocacy associations and national retailers including CVS, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.

The Organized Retail Crime Task Force will serve as a vehicle allowing multiple jurisdictions to share information and resources. The task force will allow the Illinois Attorney General’s office to utilize data and tips provided by retailers and partner across jurisdictions with law enforcement agencies to investigate organized retail crimes and trace thefts to the source.