Outbreaks of burglary attacks against jewelry stores are affecting several Jewelers Mutual policyholders. In particular, two types of crimes – smash, grab, and run; and safe/vault burglaries – are rising, resulting in significant losses as well as mental trauma. To prevent crime from happening to you, please review these important, sometimes life-saving, precautionary measures.
Prevent smash, grab, and run burglaries
These are the most common type of jewelry store burglaries today, and they often happen when jewelry is left out of safe overnight and is visible from the outside of the store. The tactics consist of a burglar smashing a glass window or door and quickly stealing exposed merchandise. In addition to significant jewelry losses, these crimes cause extensive physical damage to the store, including windows, doors, and showcases. Repairing the damage often results in lost selling time as well.
Here is a recent case reported by Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA), www.jewelerssecurity.org.
Suspects smash cases with hammers, take watches
Trumbull, CT – September 26, 2008 – Three black male suspects armed with hammers and wearing white gloves with black tips entered a mall retail jewelry store at 12:30 p.m. As one suspect threatened a store employee with a hammer, another suspect smashed display cases, taking 15 to 20 high-end watches. The suspects were reported to have fled in a 1997 Red Dodge Caravan with Maryland plates driven by another suspect. The suspects were described as between 17 and 22 years old. Suspect #1 is described as short and thin with a bony face; suspect #2 as 5’4″ with a round face, and suspect #3 about 5’10”. Two were wearing hooded jackets.
- Place customer repairs in the safe or vault; don’t leave them in your work area.
- Remove all jewelry from show windows at night.
- Do not cover showcases. This gives criminals the perception that there’s something worth stealing in the showcases.
- Use UL-listed burglary resistant glazing material on windows and showcases. This material will slow down the criminals.
- Verify that your burglar alarm system is on and working.
Burglaries where alarms and safes are compromised
More sophisticated burglaries involve attempts to disable alarms and enter safes. Sometimes burglars gain access to a jewelry store by cutting a hole in the roof or in a common wall shared with an adjacent business. Guards or police officers responding to burglar alarm signals may not be able to detect exterior signs of forced entry and may leave without further investigation. Other times, burglars may trigger an alarm signal and wait to see who responds and how long it takes.
Jewelers Mutual has seen an increase in these burglaries, as well.
Here is a recent case reported by the JSA:
Burglars cut hole in roof of business next to jewelry store
West Valley City, UT – October 6, 2008 – Burglars cut a hole in the roof of a business next to a jewelry store, dropped down from the ceiling, and then cut a hole in the wall leading to the room next door containing the jeweler’s safe. The suspects cut a hole in the safe and removed all the merchandise. The store had surveillance cameras, which didn’t work in the dark and were shut off at night.
- Insist on a UL-certificated Central Station burglar alarm system, if available. The certificate serves as evidence that the premises, safes, and/or vaults are protected by a burglar alarm system meeting UL requirements for installation, operation, and maintenance.
- Confirm that your alarm system provides line security. Any conventional burglar alarm system is vulnerable to defeat or compromise (severing communication paths between the store and the alarm monitoring facility without triggering an alarm signal). Line security systems reduce this vulnerability by detecting any compromise attempt on your alarm connection. If you don’t have line security, you don’t have adequate burglar alarm protection as a jeweler.
- Confirm that your security system can detect an unauthorized entry through the roof, a rear exit, a bathroom window, an air conditioning unit, or through a wall. If you’re unsure of the extent of your protection, contact your alarm service provider.
- Test your alarm system periodically, and confirm with your alarm service company that your alarm system has received proper maintenance.
- Respond to all alarm signals. Never take an alarm signal for granted by assuming it is a false alarm.
- Provide your alarm service company with a key to your premises if they provide guard services, so when they respond to an alarm, they can conduct a thorough investigation.
- Provide your alarm service company with cell phone numbers at which an owner and/or designated employees can be contacted in an alarm condition.
- Store merchandise in a UL-listed, burglary-resistant safe when you are closed to business. Burglars use a variety of tools that allow them to easily enter a wide range of safes and vaults. To provide resistance until authorities arrive, safes, modular vault panels, and vault doors should meet Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) ratings for burglary-resistance.
Get more information
As a policyholder, Jewelers Mutual pays for your subscription to the Jewelers Security Network, which quickly alerts you to crimes against jewelers. If you are a Commercial Lines policyholder and you do not receive alerts, please send your updated e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jewelers Mutual insurance agents can refer you to a network of qualified resources that work closely with the jewelry industry and are knowledgeable about your specific security needs.
Plus, for additional security tips, visit JewelersMutual.com and click on JM University. Jewelers Mutual offers two online training courses that take 35-40 minutes to complete, a two-disk DVD set, and many other materials that you can order online or by calling 800-558-6411 . These courses and supplies are free to Jewelers Mutual policyholders.
Place merchandise in a safe or vault overnight. If you don’t have room in your safe or vault, place the lower-valued merchandise in a locked cabinet or drawer, out of sight from the criminals. Be sure to comply with your insurance policy provisions in regards to merchandise during closed-to-business hours.