July 30, 2015
We break down the 10 red flags to watch for that indicate a customer is about to steal jewelry. Jewelry professionals are no strangers to the threat of crime and the need to always be alert. Over the course of 2014, there were 1,381 jewelry industry crimes, resulting in $77.8 million dollars in losses, reported to the Jewelers Security Alliance (JSA).

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company teamed up with JSA to share a webinar on their 2014 Jewelry Crime Report and provide recommendations on how to prevent crimes in the future. The webinar covers an annual comparative analysis of reported jewelry crime providing suggestions on how jewelers can help avoid these crimes in the future. Theft is just one area that was explored.

Unlike burglary, theft crimes occur when your store is open for business. And unlike robbery, there is no use of force or fear. In 2014, JSA tracked 800 recorded theft incidents with a total of $11.2 million in losses. Theft crimes include incidents such as grab and run, distraction thefts, sneak thefts, product switches and more. 

10 Red Flags of a Jewelry Thief
Seen time and time again, Jewelers Mutual and JSA have identified certain characteristics and behaviors that may indicate that someone is about to commit a jewelry theft.
  • Is the person talking on a cell phone?
  • Is the person wearing sunglasses?
  • Is the person wearing a hat pulled low or a hoodie?
  • Is the person wearing inappropriate clothing for the season?
  • Are three or more people entering together?
  • Is the person putting large or bulky items on the showcase or presentation pads, mirrors or other items on the showcase?
  • Is the person asking unusual questions, particularly about security, hours or schedules, or looking with unusual interest at your cameras or security equipment?
  • Is the person asking to see the “most expensive” watch or jewelry item in the store?
  • Is the person making hand signals or other gestures or appear to be communicating with other people?
  • Is the person walking around the store with their hands in their pockets in order to avoid touching anything in the store that would leave fingerprints?
  • If your staff has identified a customer displaying any of these characteristics or behaviors and has deemed them a potential threat, they should alert other members of your staff immediately. 

Prepare a keyword or phrase for your staff to use to make the rest of your team aware of these situations when they arise. By focusing extra staff attention towards the potential suspect, you could make them nervous to the point of leaving the store without any further action. 

How You Can Help

If you’re the victim of a crime, one of the greatest things you can provide law enforcement and other jewelers is information.  By sharing information and encouraging open communication about jewelry crime activity, JSA has seen an increase in arrests and successful prosecutions. An informed jeweler and associate team can be one of the best defenses to the crimes listed above. 

Visit JewelersMutual.com/JMWebinars to view the full webinar featuring John Kennedy, President of JSA, and Scott Guginsky, Vice President of JSA and recommendations on preventing robberies, theft, burglaries, off-premise and more.  

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