July 30, 2015
While you cannot prevent every jewelry store burglary, robbery and theft, you can prevent many of them or reduce the loss amount by implementing the following crime prevention strategies, according to Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

First, let’s get our terminology straight.

Burglary occurs when thieves break into your closed store with the intent to steal your merchandise. Robbery is the unlawful taking of your merchandise by force or fear when your store is open for business. Theft crimes occur when your store is open for business but without the use of force or fear.

Preventing Grab & Run Theft

Grab-and-run losses are all too common in the jewelry industry. Thieves rely on speed, distraction, store layout and poor security procedures to increase their chances of success. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has recommendations to reduce your risk of experiencing a grab-and-run jewelry crime. 

Be prepared. Before displaying jewelry, gather all of the tools that you will need: display pad, scope, calculator, pen and paper. If you must leave the customer for any reason, put the jewelry back into the locked showcase or take it with you. A thief needs only a few seconds to grab jewelry and run out the door, so don’t turn away from a customer for even a moment.

Show only one item at a time. Customers may want to compare two or more items when making a purchase. If that’s the case, hold one or two items yourself, next to another item that your customer is holding or wearing. If thieves can get their hands on several high-priced items, they can easily grab all of them and run out of the store. If necessary, explain to your customers that your insurance company allows you to show only one item at a time.

Serve one customer at a time. Give each customer your full attention. When you can focus on one customer at a time, you deliver exceptional customer service and deter thieves from targeting your store.

Stay alert. Thieves may use arguments or other commotion to distract you, so they can make their move. Stay alert and focused!

Lock showcases when not in use. Make it a habit to lock the showcase after removing or returning items, even if you are walking away for a short time. When handling merchandise, replace an item and lock the showcase before going to a second showcase for an item. Unlocked showcases make it easy for thieves to grab items and run out the door.

Mark your spot. Keep every slot in display trays filled with merchandise or markers, so you know if something is missing.

Display high-value merchandise away from the exit. Luxury watches, large-carat jewelry items and other high-value pieces should be distributed among several cases located as far as possible from any means of egress. As an additional precaution, arrange obstacles such as other showcases or furniture between your high-value merchandise and the exits.

Consider a viewing room. For high-value items, consider having a secluded area where you and the customer may sit. This adds a special touch for customers and increases the security in your store.

Ask for ID. If a customer who is unfamiliar to you asks to see high-value items, explain that your insurance company instructs you to ask for identification as a security measure. Keep the customer’s driver’s license or other form of identification on the counter beside you while you show the items. A legitimate customer won’t mind, but a thief will become very uncomfortable.

The layout of your store is important. Jewelers Mutual recommends that store owners consider designing the store so that customers must walk around showcases to reach the door rather than have a straight path to the exit. This simple measure helps customers view even more jewelry as they walk around the showcases and improves store security.

Preventing Smash & Grab Burglary 

Protecting a jewelry store from robberies during the day with staff present is one crime prevention challenge, but how do you ensure your jewelry store is secure when closed for business? Use these crime prevention strategies to avoid smash & grab burglaries: 

  • Place merchandise in a safe or vault when closed to business. If you don’t have room in your safe or vault for all merchandise, place lower-valued items in a locked cabinet or drawer, out of sight from criminals. Be sure to comply with your insurance policy provisions for storing merchandise during closed-to-business hours.
  • Place customer repairs in the safe or vault. Never leave them in your work area.
  • Remove all jewelry from show windows at night.
  • Do not cover showcases. This gives criminals the impression that there’s something worth stealing.
  • Use UL-listed burglary-resistant glazing material on windows, doors and showcases. This material will slow down criminals.
  • Verify that your burglar alarm system is on and working properly. You should have a professional inspection and maintenance check of your alarm system at least annually. In addition, test your alarm system at regular intervals and walk test any motion detectors.

Preventing Safe Burglary

More sophisticated burglars attempt to disable alarm systems and break into jewelry safes or vaults. Burglars may attempt to gain access to a jewelry store by cutting a hole in the roof, a common wall shared with an adjacent business or the exterior wall. Guards or police officers responding to the burglar alarm signal may not see signs of forced entry and may leave without further investigation. 

Other times, burglars may trigger an alarm signal and wait to see who responds and how long it takes. After one or more “false alarms,” the response may be delayed, giving burglars the time they need to break into your jewelry store and its safe. Never let alarm signals, telephone trouble or other disturbances go unexplained. 

Use these crime prevention strategies to avoid safe burglaries: 

  • Insist on a UL-certificated Central Station burglar alarm system, if available. The certificate serves as evidence that the premises, safes and/or vaults are protected by a burglar alarm system meeting UL requirements for installation, operation and maintenance.
  • Confirm that your alarm system provides line security. Any conventional burglar alarm system is vulnerable to defeat or compromise by simply severing the communication paths between the store and the central station alarm monitoring facility without triggering an alarm signal. Line security reduces this vulnerability by detecting a compromise attempt. If you don’t have line security, you don’t have adequate burglar alarm system protection.
  • Confirm that your security system can detect an unauthorized entry through the roof, a rear exit, a bathroom window, a skylight, an air conditioning/heating duct or through a wall. If you’re unsure of the extent of your protection, contact your alarm service provider.
  • Test your alarm system periodically and confirm with your alarm service provider that your system has received proper maintenance at least annually.
  • Respond to all alarm signals. Never take an alarm system trouble signal for granted by assuming it is a false alarm. Burglars could be testing or interfering with your line.
  • Provide your alarm service company with keys to your premises if they offer guard response services, so when they respond to an alarm, they can conduct a thorough investigation of the interior premises in addition to the exterior premises.
  • Provide your alarm service company with cell phone numbers for the owner and/or designated employees to call in an alarm situation.
  • Store merchandise in a UL-listed, burglary-resistant safe or vault when your store is closed for business. Burglars use a variety of tools that allow them to easily enter safes and vaults. To delay entry until guards or local law enforcement arrive, your safe or modular vault panels and vault door should be UL-listed to meet Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (ULI) minimum standards for burglary resistance.

For even more tips, take Jewelers Mutual’s interactive, online training course, Selling with Security, designed for jewlery store associates. JA Members have free access to JMUniversity.com. Contact Jewelers Mutual at 800-558-6411 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 

The information provided in the Safe & Secure Series is for informational purposes only. The information is not part of an insurance policy and is not a substitute for actual policy language. 

Jewelers of America is neither a representative nor an insurance agent for Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company and therefore provides no guarantee, nor assumes any liability for the policies, coverage, or advice provided by Jewelers Mutual. It is your responsibility to ensure that any products, services, or recommendations meet your business requirements. Contact your insurance agent for specific coverage and security questions. 

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