The Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA), a non-profit trade association providing crime prevention information and services to the jewelry industry since 1883, has alerted the industry of recent jewelry crime trends. JSA reports a series of distraction thefts from back room safes in California, 10 smash and grab robberies spread across the country in November, and a series of grab and run thefts, and provides tips to prevent or deal with these crimes.
Distraction Theft Recommendations
- Keep safes locked during the day.
- Back rooms should be secured so that only employees may gain access.
- Three or more people entering together is a red flag.
- These thieves have been seen Facetiming on their phones while in the stores.
- Jewelers need to aware that a similar pattern of back room safe thefts in 2017 moved on from California to Pennsylvania. These criminals are mobile and could strike anywhere next.
Smash and Grab Recommendations
- Do not resist in a smash and grab robbery. In addition to sledgehammers and other dangerous tools, the suspects may be armed with guns. 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, who 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 or uniformed security guards 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 when smash and grab robbers are particularly active not to display an entire inventory of highly targeted product 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.
Grab and Run Recommendations
- Show one item at a time.
- Thieves often brag about how much money they have to spend or flash cash.