Calgary Police Service

Organized Retail Crime

It causes prices to rise, which costs us all!

Organized retail crime is the theft of consumer goods for the purpose of illegally selling the merchandise for cash. The goods are usually taken through systematic shoplifting, and then they are sold to the public through classified ads, online sales, flea markets or on the black market.

While it may sounds like a minor crime, it really isn’t. Canadian retailers estimate that organized retail crime costs them over $4.6 billion each year. The cost of this loss and increasing security to prevent further theft is passed along to you through higher prices.

But more importantly, money raised from this type of crime is often is used to fund other, more serious criminal activities like purchasing drugs or weapons. This is what really costs us all as it undermines the safety of our communities.

What you can do

At the Calgary Police Service, our Organized Retail Crime Team is working closely with retailers to try reduce this type of crime, but you can also help by recognizing and refusing to buy stolen goods.

You can avoid purchasing stolen goods by:

  • Purchasing new goods from licensed, reputable businesses only.
  • Comparing the price of goods to their typical market value. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Asking sellers how they obtained the property and why they are selling it so cheap. If the answers do not add up, it should be a cause for concern.
  • Checking to see what else a seller has for sale when you come across new goods on online classifieds sites. If they are primarily selling new goods and are not a business, it should be considered a red flag.

You can also help by reporting it when you see people shoplifting or selling goods you believe to be stolen. You can call our non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or submit tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers.

What retailers can do

We have partnered with many local retailers to share information regarding prolific shoplifters and we are always happy to have more join us.

RetailCOP is an online service that allows loss prevention and security officers in Calgary stores to provide intelligence to the police and each other. This helps everyone keep up on current trends so both retailers and the police know what to watch for.

To register for an account, retailers should visit the RetailCOP website.

What we are doing

In addition to investigating organized retail crime, we have teamed up with LoblawsLondon DrugsTJX Canada, and Mark’s, as well as the non-profit organizations Crime Stoppers and RetailCOP, to launch an advertising campaign aimed at highlighting the cost of organized retail crime.

Our goal is to help Calgarians avoid purchasing stolen goods, which will reduce the demand and make this crime less profitable.

Take a look at some sample advertisements below:


In an emergency always call 911

Non-emergency 403-266-1234