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Traveling Jewelry Salespersons Increasingly Targeted for Crime

There’s been a disturbing spike in robberies and thefts, JSA says.

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Robberies of traveling salespersons and retail jewelers carrying merchandise off-premises spiked in October, according to the Jewelers Security Alliance.

During the first nine months of 2016, such crimes averaged two or three a month nationally. But in October, such losses soared to eight, JSA reports.

The crimes took place in seven states: Washington, Kentucky, Georgia, Nevada, Tennessee, California and Florida.

According to JSA: "The seriousness of such losses cannot be overstated. It should be remembered that a traveling salesperson was killed near Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in June, 2016, and there was a similar robbery attempt on another jeweler near the same airport the previous week."

JSA offers these basics for whenever you’re carrying jewelry off-premises:

  1. Never resist in a robbery.
  2. Salespersons must take evasive driving action after every sales call, and before returning to their hotel, home or office. Evasive driving tactics include driving very slowly, driving around the block, making U-turns or pulling into a bank or fast food parking lot. Are one or more cars following you? Be aware that gangs may be using multiple vehicles. Entrance and exit ramps of highways provide a particularly favorable opportunity for criminals to box in a salesperson’s vehicle.
  3. As you drive to a retail location, scout the area. Park as close to the main entrance to your destination as possible. Do not enter or exit by a rear or secluded entrance. Do not remain seated in your parked car for any length of time before or after sales calls.
  4. Do not leave jewelry merchandise in an unattended vehicle.
  5. If you are being followed, call 911 and say, “I am about to be the victim of a robbery.” If possible make your call obvious to the suspicious persons. When criminals see you using your cell phone after you have spotted them, they are less likely to pursue.
  6. If you experience trouble with your car trunk lock, door lock or ignition key, or have a flat tire, radiator trouble or are bumped by another car, consider yourself a crime target. Immediately get yourself to a place of safety.
  7. Jewelers should not take valuable jewelry merchandise to their homes.
  8. Even if you are not carrying jewelry merchandise, if you are visiting jewelry premises and are carrying a bag of any sort, you are a target.
  9. Gangs have been known to place GPS devices on the autos of salespersons. There are electronic devices available to detect the presence of GPS devices. Salespersons should also regularly inspect underneath their vehicle, and can carefully check their vehicle when a car is on a rack for an oil change.
  10. Keep your travel plans confidential, including flights, departure and arrival times, hotels, rental cars and locations to be visited.
  11. Do not gas up prior to returning a rental car. Either purchase through the rental car company beforehand, or simply return the car. It is important to limit your exposure to risk as much as possible, whether at rental car companies, restaurants, hotels, parking lots and elsewhere.
  12. When you are entering a hotel lobby to check in, be particularly careful you are not being followed.
  13. Retailers and traveling salespersons should cooperate, so that when a salesperson leaves a store to drive away, the retailer can keep an eye on the salesperson to make sure the salesperson is not being followed.

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