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US Jewelry Crime Losses Rise 89% to Hit $101M

Burglaries were the biggest driver of the increase.

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NEW YORK – Losses from crime against the U.S. jewelry industry increased 89.1% to $101 million in 2019, the Jewelers’ Security Alliance reports.

The figure was up from $53.4 million in 2018, according to JSA’s newly released 2019 Annual Crime Report.

Burglary losses were the biggest driver of the increase, rising to $40.5 million in 2019 from $11.6 million in 2018. A relatively small number of very large dollar losses caused the increase, while the total number of criminal events actually decreased by .2%, JSA notes.

John Kennedy, JSA president, said, “After many years of significant declines in dollar losses from crime, the industry got a jolt in 2019 due to large dollar crime losses caused by very active professional gangs, particularly sophisticated burglary gangs. While losses have moderated in 2020 due to Covid-19 closures and disruptions, the disturbing statistics of 2019 should be a wake-up call for the industry that the bad old days of escalating crime losses can quickly return.

“JSA particularly thanks its FBI and law enforcement partners for their arrests of a large number of the dangerous criminals from 2019 cases.”

Kennedy continued, “This Report summarizes information on when, where and how these crimes occurred. Knowing the information in this Report can help keep jewelers safe from crime. JSA urges all jewelry firm owners and their employees to spend time reading and discussing this Report and examining the serious risks that your jewelry business faces.”

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Other notable results from the report:

For the first time in decades, no homicides of jewelers were recorded by JSA for 2019. Over the last 24 years, 124 jewelers have been killed in crimes against the industry.

The total number of crimes committed against U.S. jewelry firms recorded by JSA decreased from 1,441 in 2018 to 1,438 in 2019, a decrease of 0.2%.

The number of on-premises burglaries increased by 52.8% in 2019 compared to 2018, going from 214 to 327. The number of rooftop-entry burglaries increased from 9 in 2018 to 34 in 2019, an increase of 277.8%. The number of safe attack burglaries increased from 13 in 2018 to 44 in 2019, an increase of 238.5%. The average loss from a safe attack burglary increased from $221K in 2018 to $491K in 2019.
Highly mobile professional burglary crews contributed to the rise in sophisticated burglaries.

There was a large increase in the dollar losses of off-premises crimes from $7.2 million in 2018 to $14.5 million in 2019, an increase of 101.4%.

Dollar losses from robberies increased from $22 million in 2018 to $34.3 million in 2019, a 55.9% increase.

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To see a copy of the full report, go to the JSA website here.

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