The Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA), a non-profit trade association with 20,000 members providing crime prevention information and services to the jewelry industry since 1883, has alerted the industry about an alarming trend of smash and grab robberies. JSA reports there have been 14 jewelry stores hit in southern California in the last month. JSA recommends the following security measures against smash and grabs.
- Do not resist in a smash and grab robbery. In addition to sledgehammers and other dangerous tools, the suspects may be armed with guns and knives. Stay out of their way!
- Showcases with burglary-resistant, laminated glass on the front and sides, and special frames, can withstand many blows with a hammer and can prevent or reduce large losses. JSA has not seen robbers take retaliatory action when laminated glass is used and robbers are unable to enter a showcase or are able to take only a small amount of merchandise from a small hole. Furthermore, robbers frequently cut themselves on small holes and leave behind valuable DNA evidence from blood.
- Having an audible glass breakage alarm on your showcases can scare smash and grab robbers away. They are trying to remain in a target store for less than a minute.
- Having buzzers on the door when possible can help to keep out potential robbers.
- Hiring armed, off-duty police officers in the store can be a deterrent to smash and grab robbers.
- Spreading high end watch and loose diamond merchandise among several showcases, and not concentrated in one showcase, can reduce the amount of the loss in a smash and grab robbery.
- It can be prudent not to display an entire inventory of highly targeted product, such as heavy gold chains, but rather keep some quantity in the safe.
- Surveillance photos from eye-level cameras inside and outside the store, including of cars in the parking lot, provide excellent evidence for police. Ceiling cameras too often capture useless photos of the top of heads or hats.
- Keeping a log book of suspicious incidents, and putting aside and saving surveillance video of suspicious incidents, can be a great help in subsequent investigations.
- Sharing information and photos rapidly among local jewelers and police, and with JSA, regarding casings and suspects can help prevent crime and assist with investigations.
- Retail jewelry stores in malls should bring to the attention of mall security the pattern of smash and grab jewelry robberies, discussing issues of prevention, coverage by surveillance cameras inside the mall and in the parking lot, and protocols if such a crime occurs.
- Some jewelers are using tracking devices in jewelry pads and boxes in order to track stolen product.
For more information about the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, crime data, trends and prevention information or to receive their Email Crime Alert, call JSA at 800-537-0067, email email@example.com or visit jewelerssecurity.org.