Secure Your Store
According to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, jewelry crime accounted for $72.4 million in losses last year, increasing 4.5% over 2015. Robbery occurred less while burglary and theft are on the rise. January and February were the most active months for crime, with instances occurring most frequently from 10:00am-12:00pm. Three-minute burglaries represented nearly half of all jewelry industry burglaries. That’s right. In 180 seconds or less, inventory-stealing scoundrels could devastate your store. Don’t become another statistic! Beef up your store security.
As the first step, join the Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA). A longtime Stuller partner, the JSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping jewelers informed and educated about how to prevent jewelry crime. They offer many recommendations on how to ensure proper store security and even publish a nifty guidebook titled Manual of Jewelry Security. This manual is essential, and we highly recommend looking it over (and over again). The JSA investigates different reports and criminal activity nationwide while sending out bulletins recognizing trending crimes and what’s going on. Check out their 2016 crime report here.
Back it up!
Of course, security cameras are a huge plus when it comes to monitoring what goes on in your store. Well worth the investment, they play a pivotal role when it comes to tracing theft or identifying suspicious activity. But what if the bad guys decide to steal whatever device stores your camera footage? It’s best to backup your video feed and other sensitive information on a hard drive, safe from tamper and securely locked away. One method is to use physical tapes to backup footage and swap them out daily. Or, host your surveillance on the cloud to stay two steps ahead. JSA recommends a list of trusted organizations in their security directory, one being Axis Communications who offers subscription-based services to host your video surveillance in the cloud.
Switch it up!
Face it. Bad guys are going to study you before they hit your store. They’ll come in to look around, and get to know your store. Heck, they might even know you by name. When planning an attack, criminals do their homework. That’s why it’s best to vary your habits. If your lunch schedule, bank runs, and other errands are routinely scheduled, they’ll know exactly when to strike. So alter your daily routines to avoid predictability. And because you welcome all customers including those who are just looking, criminals can note what you have in each case. Again, switch it up and move your inventory around. It’s best to keep higher priced items toward the back of your store away from front entrances and windows.
Watch your steps
Steer clear of opening and closing your store alone. Whether arriving or leaving your store, ensure one or more suspicious vehicles don’t follow you. In fact, switch up your route to and from your store for variety. Scan your parking lot and always stay aware of your surroundings. This is especially important when you take jewelry home or anytime you’re out and about. The risk of out-of-store attacks increases exceptionally for traveling salesmen. As always, keep your phone handy and fully-charged. Remain vigilant and avoid getting distracted; criminals are clever.
So what can you do?
1. Identify Casing
As I already mentioned, bad guys will typically study your store before making a move. Know how to recognize this behavior and follow your gut. Greet customers when they enter, ensuring you make eye contact with all who visit — something criminals typically avoid. Handle customers one at a time, keep an eye out for switch artists, never leave customers unattended or even turn your back to them. The balance between sales and security is tough, but safety is paramount.
2. Keep a Logbook
Keep a log book in your store and jot down any suspicious activity. Document such occurrences with the time and date, details that caught your attention, a physical description of individuals, and if possible, license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions. Even if the events are small and seemingly insignificant, this will help to document incidents and help you to recall specifics more clearly.
3. Expect the Unexpected
Do your research on the different types of jewelry crime and what to expect if your store is hit. From burglary to smash-and-grab to armed robbery, you and your salesforce should prepare for all scenarios. Keep a plan of action in case of emergency and carry out regular employee training with role-playing and emergency drills.
What Stuller can do to help
One way we can help is through our selling systems. Many feature alloy bands with CZ stones, representing the real thing and allowing customers to touch and feel their way around these samples. What’s more, by using our ever&ever® 3C prototype sample kits in your cases, you can limit your live inventory. If perpetrators steal these prototypes, they’ll get away with pieces far less valuable than they think. Practicing these small steps will create a significant impact on your store security.
This brief overview is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to store security. Check out Jewelers Mutual blog for more precautions and refer to JSA’s website for all regards to your store security.