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As Jewelry Stores Begins Reopening, JSA Offers Security Tips

There could be a ‘pent-up explosion of crime.’

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Jewelry stores and other “non-essential” businesses in some parts of the U.S. have started to reopen, and many more will be doing so in coming weeks.

The Jewelers Security Alliance this week issued tips for guarding against crime as you get back to business.

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“Following re-opening there may well be a pent-up explosion of crime at jewelry stores by professional criminals who have had to be inactive, or new criminals, such as financially desperate people and drug addicts,” JSA stated in an email to members.

The group also noted that “while there are a few new security issues presented by Covid-19, basic security principles long promoted by Jewelers Security Alliance will now be more important than ever.”

Here are JSA’s notes on security:

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  • Following reopening, jewelers should keep the door locked and have an employee or security guard admit only a small number of people at a time. The security guard or employee at the door can also act as a greeter. A buzzer system may be helpful, and all customers admitted need to be wearing a mask. In mall locations and locations without a locked door, an employee or security guard should control the entrance.
  • If a jeweler wishes to have a person remove a mask, it needs to be while the person is outside the store. However, there are limitations: Some jurisdictions require masks to be worn, and the person cant be asked to remove a mask before any other nearby people are moved away.
  • Criminals trying to conceal their identity ordinarily will use more than a surgical mask, such as hats, hoodies and sunglasses. Some people at the door may be wearing scarves, bandanas or rolled T-shirts rather than masks. If a jeweler feels someone is trying to conceal his or her identity, or is not sufficiently protected without a mask, the person shouldnt be admitted to the locked store.
  • Customers should not be asked to remove a mask inside the store, putting the health of the jeweler, employees and customers at risk, or possibly provoking a criminal to become violent.
  • Social distancing needs to be maintained inside the store for both employees and customers.
  • The installation of a camera focusing to the outside of the store is useful for security, and will also be helpful in admitting customers.
  • If a jeweler has furloughed or permanently laid off employees, store and showcase keys, alarm codes and safe combinations can become a security question. The jeweler may need to make changes to prevent any future misuse.
  • Jewelers may wish to shorten or adjust their store hours, especially so they are not the only open business in a given neighborhood.
  • You may need to keep various COVID-19 supplies in the store, such as: extra gloves and masks for employees and customers, hand sanitizer, disinfectant for wiping showcases and door handles, and a jewelry-friendly disinfecting product and cloth for wiping jewelry and watches before and after presentations.

If you offer curbside pickup:

  • Look out for criminals who may be waiting nearby, probably in cars, and watching your store, putting both the jeweler and the customer at risk.
  • Curbside pick-up of repairs or items ordered online or by phone should be paid by credit card before pick-up.
  • Two employees should cooperate on the delivery, one surveilling the area and handling the door, while the other goes to the car for delivery.
  • Do not have fixed or posted hours for pick-up, which should be by appointment with the car description and license plate number obtained beforehand.
  • Customers arranging for curbside pick-up should be told a designated area as close to the front of the store as possible, and visible from inside the store.
  • Know the details and limits of your jewelers block insurance coverage when you deliver merchandise outside the store.
  • Let local police know you are reopening and will be engaging in curbside pick-up so that additional patrols can be made to your location.

And jewelers should always follow these basic security procedures:

  • Don’t resist in a robbery.
  • Keep all showcases locked except when taking merchandise out or putting it back.
  • Show one item at a time.
  • Don’t bring goods home.
  • Look for red flags to help spot criminals, such as three or more people entering together, nervous behavior and body language, inappropriate clothing for the season and staring up at cameras.
  • Put goods away each night in a safe or vault, or at a minimum put low-end merchandise in a locked drawer or closet and out of sight.
  • Respond to all alarm conditions accompanied by security, alarm or police personnel. A full inspection of the interior and exterior of the premises is necessary.
  • Follow opening and closing protocols with two employees.

“Jewelers Security Alliance offers these initial security recommendations at this unprecedented time, and will be constantly re-evaluating them as the patterns of crime emerge and store re-openings increase,” the group states. “Do not let these difficult financial times cause you to lower your guard regarding security.”

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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