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Jewelers Mutual Umbrella

Avoiding Robberies and Thefts 

Contributed by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Cpmpany

Robbery and theft—regardless of whether your a retailer, wholesaler, or manufacturer—pose very real threats to your business and can result in significant losses. The following steps can help to ensure you stay protected, minimize losses, keep insurance rates down, and improve your bottom line.

Secure the Premises

Jewelers continue to design and install surveillance systems in their operations as part of their overall physical security. However, today’s surveillance systems can be designed to provide the jeweler with a multitude of functions in addition to merely serving as an onsite crime deterrent. Many jewelers operate these systems with recording capability 24 hours daily.

Access control measures have been adopted by several non-retail jewelers. A mantrap is one such system: The outer door must relock before the inner door opens. These systems need to be designed and operated in compliance with local fire codes, allowing for safe egress in an emergency from the protected premises. 

When a jewelry operation does not have lavatory facilities within its own protected premises, they can face some additional risk—especially when there is only one person in the operation. In these instances, jewelers need to observe appropriate opening and closing procedures. These include putting up stock to maintain their in-safe warranty, and locking the safes or vaults and setting the alarm each time they leave the operation to use the external lavatory to remain.

Hold-up devices (e.g., panic buttons) are installed solely at the discretion of the jeweler and should never be used once an armed robbery unfolds. They should be activated only after the robber has left and the doors to the protected premises have been locked, to avoid a hostage or other dangerous situation.

Prepare Proper Opening and Closing Procedures

It is a best practice in the jewelry industry to never open or close your jewelry operation alone. Another associate should watch from a safe distance, equipped with a cell phone to call for assistance as needed.

Keep the doors locked at all times and admit visitors only if they have proper identification. Robbers have sometimes disguised themselves as employees of delivery companies to successfully gain access to jewelry operations unquestioned. Always insist on proper identification before allowing entry.   

At closing, place transportable jewelry merchandise and materials in vaults or safes. With your materials off the floor and secured overnight, would-be burglars will be less successful.

Train Your Staff

A degree of criminal surveillance always precedes a robbery or theft. Train your team to be constantly aware of any suspicious individuals, vehicles, and situations in or around your jewelry operation, and document and share that information with the entire team. Being forewarned is being forearmed. Every associate should be trained to know what to do whenever a suspicious incident occurs. For example, some jewelers use a pre-arranged code word or phrase to alert the other team members of a suspicious event, and even arrange for a designated associate to visibly leave the premises carrying a cell phone they appear to be activating. 

Also, conduct regular security meetings with your team, and train them how to respond before, during and after an armed robbery: cooperate completely, remain calm, obey the robbers’ specific orders.

Internal Theft

No one wants to suspect their staff members could be untrustworthy. Unfortunately, internal theft is prevalent in the jewelry industry, and theft tactics can range from simply pocketing cash or merchandise to sophisticated transaction schemes and embezzlement operations. Options to deter employee theft could include installing metal detectors to detect the theft of precious metals, implementoing internal security procedures to limit access to high-value items and materials, and tracking the use of these materials.

Beware of an Ambush

If, when your operation is closed, you, your family, or a staff associate receives a phone call purportedly from the police or the alarm company, asking you to come to your business, get the caller’s name, title, badge number, and telephone number. Tell the caller you will return the call immediately. Then quickly conduct an internet search, check with the telephone company’s directory assistance, or consult your own records to verify the phone number and identity of the caller. Do not leave your house or open your door until you have verified the caller’s identification. This could be an ambush.

If you must enter the premises irregularly during non-business hours, the most secure method is to authorize the opening in person at your burglar-alarm monitoring station. Jewelers should always arrange for their alarm-service company to supervise the openings and closings of their operations. This procedure requires that they use a pre-arranged passcode to authorize any unscheduled opening of the business.

Report All Incidents

Whenever you encounter any suspicious activity on your premises, immediately report it to the police and inform the Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA). This organization can assist you and the police in determining whether similar incidents have occurred in your area recently, and it can perhaps identify thieves before your business is attacked.

For more tips on preventing and surviving a robbery, visit JewelersMutual.com. To find an experienced agent in your area, contact Jewelers Mutual at 800-558-6411.

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