Every month or so, run a report correlating customer reports of missing boxes or missing items in boxes, with all fulfillment and delivery people who handle it along the chain.
If there are any strong statistical correlations which pop up, bingo -- you've probably got a thief. Tail them and catch them.
Feels like delivery theft prevention 101, and so much benefit for so little cost.
2. 3% shrink is accepted in retail, that is 6+ billion dollars they are ok with losing.
3. Data is large and hard to get at Amazon. Just getting access to a database without direct VP help is sometimes impossible
4. Compute resources to 'run a report' on terabytes of data are even harder to get.
5. Manager changes every six months
6. Devs last ~18 months so no one is there long enough to care about solving a cost issue.
7. There is NO REVENUE in catching thieves, so there is little to no exec sponsorship
8. Often management is involved in fraud or theft rings.
So does it really boil down to - VP doesn't care enough?
> 6. Devs last ~18 months so no one is there long enough to care about solving a cost issue.
Are you saying devs set project priorities and cannot be assigned where the work needs to be done?
> 7. There is NO REVENUE in catching thieves
That directly contradicts point 2. Apparently there's a potential for preventing 6+ billion dollars of lost revenue.
From the article:
> $428,000 fencing stolen items, much of it on Amazon.
That's enough to put a dev on this problem for a year with required infra and still save some extra money - just from that single pawn shop.
But not in a single budget anywhere in the company.
And, it's all about MY local budget. You're asking ME to put a couple of devs on something that might pay off half a million dollars. Maybe. And, if it doesn't those devs could have been deployed elsewhere.
Uh, yeah, no. Not on my watch. I'm going to put those devs on something that might get me a bonus or promoted, thanks.
By the time management is asking me for my opinion there is usually a worry about a person and I'm just providing data.
Also saving the company $6bn with "one wierd trick" ticks all the amamazon promo boxes and usually skyrockets you.
What? Why? Putting devs on something that will provide benefit rather than might is hardly a firing offense. I simply don't believe you.
> Also saving the company $6bn with "one wierd trick" ticks all the amamazon promo boxes and usually skyrockets you.
IF you can get it implemented. Something which crosses political boundaries is ferociously hard to get implemented unless there is credit that can be claimed by all involved.
I don’t work at Amazon but failing to see past your own team’s mission and missing your role in the larger company is a (common) failure of management.
At the very least, the higher ups with the view of the overall budget have the power to start projects like that which assign the budget as necessary.
Except they won't because if it fails, their name is associated with it and they will get punished.
Most politics in big companies is about avoiding sins of commission as they are easy to spot--sins of omission are a lot tougher to identify and punish.
Although I haven't been in Amazon specifically, in my experience in corp, the worst that happens to bad mid-level managers is that they're moved to a different project. And that's actually overall bad managers, not someone trying out an idea.
For this reason large companies might group all their cost groups such as shipping, LP, fraud, etc into one big organization with special protections so they won't be cannibalized by revenue generating groups that have more political power.
> That's enough to put a dev on this problem for a year with required infra and still save some extra money - just from that single pawn shop.
If LP saves 400k, retail doesn't cut them a check for the 400k. They are on fixed budget, usually small because it is considered good money after bad. And at Amazon it is easier for devs and managers just to transfer to a shiny new AWS project than try to reduce costs.
It would take a year or more for a dev to become familiar enough with their domain and its systems to even know to suggest a report that would sniff out this fraud, and even more time for them to have the political capital to get support for the project.
AWS was not considered secure enough for Amazon.com critical data as of a few years ago, maybe still is not. Look at the capital one breach due to S3.
Amazon does not just give a no-limit AWS account to each of their thousands of team. In fact they are more likely to tell the team to solve it with no resources. Rival teams will want an unpopular cost savings project like this to fail so they can have more headcount and budget.
This is nothing new for retail or warehouses. If a manager is suspected of helping thieves, they might be moved around instead of fired due to politics.
Theft was considered a insurable cost of business. I am sure insurance rates were priced accordingly. I am also sure our rate of theft was no different to any other port in the country.
before someone accuses me of being a communist hippie I have a thought experiment for you: every 5 years I do spring cleaning by taking all of the boxes drawers etc of accumulated consumer goods junk I haven't looked inside of in the past 5 year and just take them to good will. I reason that if it hasn't been important in the last 5 years it never will be and that I would waste more time (money) looking closely. now the thought experiment: suppose someone had broken into my house over the last 5 years and stolen something from one of those receptacles that was eventually thrown out. should I be upset? now note that I'm not asking if I'm legally entitled to being upset but whether it would be rational to be upset.
but let me actually put on my hippie commie beatnik hat: there is so much money sloshing around in the economy and inefficiencies that entrepreneurs exploit to become wealthy. most of it is above board but some of it isn't and whether those people get punished or not is largely a function of whether they're caught before they're super successful or not. what is the difference here? these people saw an inefficiency and took advantage of it. to put a sort of hyberbolic point on it: why is this theft but selling toxic cdos not? in both "transactions" ultimately one party profited at the expense of the counterparty.
Edit: I love the downvotes. What exactly about my comment isn't "curious" as dang loves to exhort. God forbid someone questions the most totalitarian institution the human mind has ever conceived of: the law. HN is no different from every other pointless echo chamber that double speaks about freedom but suppresses dissenting opinions.
A person's response to being burglarized is never purely rational. You've got the distress of the initial discovery, followed by the subsequent process of figuring out what (if anything) they stole, modified, or left behind, and the process of reporting the crime to authorities. Then you'll deal with self-blame about not investing more in home security and uncertainty about whether these thieves will come back for what they left behind (did they break in knowing you were gone, or did they mistakenly think you were home...?). Even if you had excellent video surveillance coverage that proved that they only took stuff you'd forgotten about, the burglar(s) violated your personal space, which obviously feels pretty awful, and may have broken something on their way in. The negativity of getting burglarized is irrational in nature and difficult to quantify in economic terms, but is nevertheless real.
In conclusion, I'd say every victim of B&E has great reasons to be upset, regardless of what (if anything) was stolen.
If you let criminals get away with breaking into someone's house and stealing things, it sends a message to other people that crime is allowed. Crime rates start to rise because no one is doing anything about it. People who were not criminals before are now comfortable being criminals because they know they won't be caught.
If you don't prosecute the small crimes, it often leads to bigger crimes.
He's pointing out that the 3% margin should exist evenly, so adding 1% theft on top means you'll hit 4%. So in order to pull of this stunt, they needed to make sure their margins were below 3%. But if you can get your margins below 3%, then why isn't that mandated?
This is forgiving people who break windows, but not people who carefully don't break windows so that they can then purposefully break windows as often as most people accidentally break windows
If my server logs say I had three errors today but everything is running fine, I'm probably going to let it slide. I have more important things to work on. If they say there have been 100 errors today, even if everything seems to be working fine I'm going to take the time to investigate and probably push a patch. Not that those 3 errors aren't important, but it's hardly worth my time to track down every error unless something is broken.
Either way it's interpreted, it's not a terribly insightful comment.
>deterrent so that it's not 4%?
My point is imprisoning someone to "send a message" rather than for the effect of the crime is cruel.
You're imprisoning criminals for the crimes they committed, not just to send a message. But imprisoning criminals for committing crimes does send a message and that message is that crime is not tolerated.
You might be okay with someone breaking into your house to steal your personal property without your permission but I'm going to guess you're not okay with someone breaking into your house and murdering your entire family. Would you then argue that it would be cruel to imprison the murderer? Because it would just be to "send a message" the murder is wrong?
No, of course not. They committed a crime, and that's what they're being punished for. Punishing criminals does not reduce the crime rate. It's the act of not punishing them that increases the crime rate.
Note that this comment does not remove the need for you to read the linked wiki article.
>recent systematic review by Braga, Welsh and Schnell (2015) found that policing strategies focused on disorder overall had a statistically significant, modest impact on reducing all types of crime. This positive effect was driven by the success of place-based, problem-oriented interventions. In contrast, there was no significant overall impact of aggressive order maintenance strategies. Thus, they conclude that police can successfully reduce disorder and non-disorder crime through disorder policing efforts, but the types of strategies matter.
That was entailed in me conceding that letting these people go free would probably bump the shrink to 4%.
Now your comment was
>If you let criminals get away with breaking into someone's house and stealing things, it sends a message to other people that crime is allowed.
To which I explicitly called back to by responding
>My point is imprisoning someone to "send a message" rather than for the effect of the crime is cruel.
So you're saying punitive damages (should) violate the 8th amendment? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punitive_damages https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruel_and_unusual_punishment
Should you be upset if they raided good will safe too?
This is considered a satisfactory resolution by Amazon. There's no shock from their representative, there's no apology. This is just a normal thing that happened. They don't really care what these delivery people are doing.
> A police detective last summer noticed that one of the drivers had dozens of pawn shop transactions, and thus began an investigation that uncovered a theft ring that sold millions of dollars' worth of stolen goods on Amazon.com in the past six years, the FBI said.
Why was a police detective looking at the driver's transactions? Would be interesting to know.
Police have access to pawn transactions and use them to investigate crimes. There's a crap ton of regulations around pawn shop transactions, they are open to the authorities.
If you note your serial number of your MacBook and your MacBook is stolen then you fill out a police report with the serial number and your MacBook then if your MacBook is sold to a pawn shop then your MacBook would be recovered.
This also applies to scrap yards. They must submit to authorities a daily report of all scrap received and by who.
I don't know how this has passed legal muster.
In the article they state:
"Detectives also conducted undercover operations in which they sold new items in their original packaging to the shops, which accepted them no questions asked"
So now Pawn Shops are required to interrogate their customers?
Also, the Patriot Act is a major invasion of privacy. SCOTUS says it’s Constitutional but I think there would be riots in the streets if people really understood the kind of surveillance the average law-abiding citizen is subject to under the law.
Sorry for the off topic reply.
I am a Machinist so most of my waste is worth money.
Brass, Copper, and Bronze if kept virgin can command good scrap rates.
I can tell you how that has gone at work.
Back in the old days, we all contributed and segregated bronze into a 55 gallon drum. When full, company vehicle takes scrap to scrapyard. So 50 percent lost off the top, but the rest was used to buy shop tools. We had nice accessories.
Then management got greedy and wanted it all. Now we don't segregate or care about virgin material.
Crappy tools so people get hurt and less money for the scrap sold.
Gun sales are always audited -- by both the local law enforcement, and the ATF/TTB/DHS. Electronics are generally only audited by the local law enforcement, and if there's something specific that they're looking for, they'll look daily/send officers to the pawn shop.
I've had a break-in to my pawn shop before, and someone stole handguns and a rifle...before the ink was dry on the police report, there was someone that the law enforcement called "the gun whisperer" -- a guy from the ATF who specializes in stolen weapons from dealers -- and they had found the guy and recovered the stolen weapons in less than 72 hours.
We are required to keep descriptors (Sex, Age, Hair, Height, Eyes, body type) in our customer database: we take it a step further by taking a copy of their Driver's License/ID and a copy of their thumbprint.
Source: I own a pawnshop as one of my side businesses.
I can speculate on a few things:
* Pawn shop owners let police peruse their transaction lists whenever asks. Perhaps similar to how cops may look past low level crimes in order to make bigger cases.
* Perhaps akin to police being able to affect traffic stops in areas with high crime, and/or high incidents of DUI's, the police are allowed to look at records as Pawnshops were a known vector for stolen property.
* The police were investigating theft, where a stolen item showed up in a pawn-shop, and were lawfully reviewing the transaction records.
I know someone who embezzled from Walmart and it took them almost a year to get caught. They likely knew within a month but wanted to make sure they got them
The machine learning piece of work on MOT is probably of a similar size to the actual app at this point (haven't worked on it for a couple of years).
Was a great experience, DVSA was pretty much GDS's poster child at this point so we were using a lot of new and interesting tech.
b) Amazon wanted to get them prosecuted, not just fired, which has a higher evidence threshold
Also in VA, anything over 80mph is automatically reckless driving, even when the posted limit is 70mph. Empty, straight interstate and 80mph? Criminal charges, a night in jail (better hope its not a Friday evening, or it becomes a weekend in jail), and expensive lawyer bills. At least residents know about the racket - anybody passing through better hope they don't look get on the wrong side of Johnny Law.
Anyways, that was just one example. Reckless driving ("you pulled away from that light too fast" even when you were slower than the minivan in the next lane), illegal lane change ("I saw you swerve" even when you didn't), and other statutes are used to pull over anybody the police want with impunity.
I changed my behavior for the remainder of my time there to ensure that was the most expensive ticket they'd ever write.
>Both drivers worked for Amazon contractor JW Logistics, based in Frisco, Texas. It was unclear how long Zghair had worked for the company, but in 2015, he was convicted of reckless driving in Lewis County after leading police on a chase in excess of 100 mph (161 kph), running red lights, driving across multiple lanes of travel and crashing into a field.
You don't think he was capable of the same to get a driving job?
>Amazon has several requirements for third-party sellers on its website: They must provide a business name, address, contact information, a valid credit card, and tax identity information.
It doesn't seem like that difficult to comply.
Anyway, it seems to me very unlike a thorough "vetting" procedure for merchants that you are going to "host" on your platform, if the Author had used "a few" or "very few" instead of "several" it wouldn't have sound "strange" to me.
From the Article:
> ...the FBI said in a search warrant affidavit unsealed last month
> A police detective last summer noticed that one of the drivers had dozens of pawn shop transactions, and thus began an investigation...
> The investigation began last summer when a police detective in Auburn, a south Seattle suburb, was perusing a record of pawn shop sales...
It's not clear why the police were looking at the transaction records, but it's possible they were investigating a theft.
The "fencing" part seems clear. Pawnshops had load of transactions from same people. Pawnshops appeared to be solely flogging new items online, via Amazon - indicating that they weren't functioning as you'd suspect - and were fencing from these amazon drivers and other shop-lifters.
What seems to entirely missing is "Where all this stuff came from?" Well the shoplifted stuff is on some books somewhere as 'shrinkage' - but the stuff that came off the back of an amazon truck??
They stole that stuff. It was stuff going to customers, or returns coming back from customers.
Is delivery drivers stealing from customers' orders the new thing?
My friend has had Amazon packages stolen before, by the delivery person, who thought that as long as he took a photo of the package on the door step he’d win the dispute. I guess he didn’t see the security camera.
Steal from the richest man in the world: FBI is on the case with military-grade weapons, tactics and surveillance.
California Voters overwhelmingly voted to end the "three strikes" laws, and also make any theft of less than $950 a misdemeanor. See https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_47,_Reduced_P...
This means you can steal packages from FedEx and UPS or Amazon deliveries from porches to your heart's content (not USPS because they are covered by federal law) and almost certainly never have to spend more than a day or two in jail if you're caught.
The $950 limit was proposed because Californians thought it was "not fair" to be charged with a felony for stealing an iPhone.
In this particular case here, Bezos makes his money back because the article indicated that the stolen items were being sold on Amazon! He'll get paid either way.
Steal from the richest man in the world * that avoids paying taxes * : FBI is on the case with military-grade weapons, tactics and surveillance * paid by taxpayers *.