The most effective weapon against professional jewelry thieves is to be constantly alert and pay strict attention to details. Organized thieves observe people who work in the jewelry industry, waiting for someone to leave a premises with a suitcase, briefcase, or boxes of jewelry. Then, the thieves follow the individual until there is an opportunity to attack.
Follow these safety precautions from Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company to heighten your awareness and safety on your next trip away from the office.
Extreme care needs to be taken when traveling with merchandise and materials as valuable as precious metals and stones. First, it is important to maintain a detailed inventory of merchandise that will be carried on the road. Keep one copy with the line and store a second copy in a separate, safe location.
Prior to departing, take time to research where you are traveling to locate public places where potential help, witnesses, and/or security surveillance are likely to be present as a crime deterrent. The locations may include police departments, banks, drive-through restaurants, and hotels. Do this for each location you will be visiting.
When heading out on the road, never leave without a fully charged cell phone and your charger. Stay in contact with your family or office when you are away, so they know where you are throughout the day.
If you create a schedule when you are leaving your regular premises, keep it extremely confidential so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. When notifying customers in advance of your visit, offer a time range instead of an exact time of the visit.
Establish a realistic plan for each day that you are on the road and resist the temptation to make a few more stops. You are most vulnerable when you are overly tired. One item you may want to arrange in advance is to leave your line at the last jewelry store you visit. This will permit you to safely exit the premise and relax for the evening. Your line does not need to be kept in the store’s safe or vault. To reassure the storeowner, you can provide a bailee waiver that relieves the storeowner of responsibility for your line.
While traveling by car gives you direct control over your travel schedule, remember to never let down your guard. No matter how quick the stop, never leave your merchandise unattended, including in an automobile or hotel room. The safest place to store your merchandise while traveling is in the trunk, not the front or backseat. Make sure your line you are bringing is manageable. You must be able to carry all of it with you—in one trip—into a restaurant, hotel or jewelry store.
If you will be traveling in your personal vehicle, it is important to remove all personalization pieces. Do not have personalized license plates, bumper stickers or decals from the dealership that sold you your car. Any of this personal information provides robbers with the opportunity to gain more information about you. Consider equipping your car with an alarm that is approved by your insurance company. Keep your car in excellent working condition. Learn how to open your trunk from the inside in case somebody locks you in the trunk. Purchase “puncture-proof” or “run flat” tires.
When you rent a car, write down the rental car’s color, make, model and license number on an index card and keep the information in a handy place, such as in the car’s sun visor. If you feel that you are being followed, the police dispatcher will need that information.
Don’t develop predictable driving patterns; change your routes and departure and arrival times. Patterns and routines are something criminals will begin to watch, putting you at a higher risk when you are traveling.
It is essential that you are always aware of your surroundings when approaching your vehicle after a stop. Walk completely around your car and inspect all locks, windows, door frames, tail lights and tires every time you have parked your car to determine if anyone has tampered with your car. Check for fluids under your car. Be especially observant in parking ramps and lots.
After appointments at retail properties, give the store manager your cell phone number and ask him or her to watch you leave after your visit. If the store manager sees a car follow you, he or she should call you immediately and notify the police that you may be at immediate risk of becoming victim of an armed robbery. After every sales call, take evasive driving action such as driving slowly, speeding up, making left turns, or driving around the block, to determine if you are being followed.
If you happen to get a flat tire, a damaged radiator or become involved in a minor traffic accident or “car bumping,” assume you are the target of a crime. While driving to a safe location, such as the secure locations you identified prior to leaving the office, call the police on your cell phone.
Rehearse what to say to a police dispatcher in the event that you experience one of these car damages or notice a suspicious car following you. You must be concise and specific: “I believe that I am about to be the victim of an armed robbery.” When calling, be concise so you can direct the police to your location as quickly as possible. Know the street or road names, cross streets and direction you are headed.
When traveling by air, similar to ground travel, never leave your merchandise unattended. Never check your jewelry merchandise as baggage, even if that means you have to reduce the amount of samples so that you can carry your line with you in a special attaché case. Jewelry checked as baggage may not be covered by insurance. There are very good reasons airlines warn travelers not to check their valuables.
At busy airports, contact security and request a private security screening. If that isn’t possible, approach the airport security checkpoint with caution. Do not place your line on the x-ray conveyor belt until the area is clear and no one can block you from walking through the metal detector to receive your screened line when it clears scanning on the other side. A common ploy involves one thief deliberately blocking you while his/her accomplice grabs your line as it comes off the belt.
When making your travel reservations, request an aisle seat on the plane. If possible, ask to board early when guests who need special handling are allowed to board and store your line under the seat in front of you. If your line does not fit under the seat, place it in the overhead bin so that you can clearly see everything that is taken out of that bin. Stay alert throughout the flight and retrieve your line as soon as the plane has landed and the flight attendant permits it.
Consider the value of the merchandise you’re carrying. Professional jewelry thieves are waiting for you to make one small mistake. Plan each trip carefully and follow your plan. Focus on maintaining possession of your line at all times. If you are confronted by an armed robber, do as you are told and survive. Your line is not worth your life.
This article was supplied by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. Take a moment to ensure you have proper insurance coverage for all your travel needs today. Call 800-558-6411 to find an experienced Jewelers Mutual agent or broker in your area.