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This Is the ‘No. 1 Crime Threat’ for Jewelry Retailers, JSA Warns

15 incidents have occurred since July 1.

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The Jewelers’ Security Alliance issued a warning this week calling smash-and-grab robberies the “No. 1. crime threat” to jewelry retailers.

The organization defines smash-and-grab robberies as those in which “several criminals will enter a jewelry store, smash into one or more showcases with sledgehammers, and escape in under a minute.” Since July 1, there have been 15 such incidents across the country involving “multiple organized gangs,” according to JSA.

The crimes have occurred in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

JSA offered these recommendations for jewelers:

  • Do not resist in a smash-and-grab robbery. In addition to sledgehammers and other dangerous tools, the suspects may be armed with guns.
  • Showcases with burglary-resistant, laminated glass 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.” Robbers frequently cut themselves on small holes and leave behind DNA evidence from blood.
  • Having buzzers on the door can help to keep out potential robbers.
  • Surveillance photos from eye-level cameras inside and outside the store provide excellent evidence for police. Ceiling cameras too often capture useless photos of the tops of heads or hats.  
  • Spreading high-end watch and diamond merchandise among several showcases, and not concentrated in one or two showcases, can reduce the dollar crime loss in a smash-and-grab robbery.
  • Hiring armed, off-duty police officers in the store is a deterrent to smash-and-grab robbers.
  • Keeping a log book of suspicious incidents, and putting aside and saving surveillance video of suspicious incidents, or saving it in the cloud or remotely, can be helpful in subsequent investigations.
  • Sharing information and photos among local jewelers and police, and with JSA, regarding casings and suspects can help prevent crime and assist with investigations.

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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