2004 half-year jewelry crime arrests rose 31%, says JSA

There is “encouraging news” for the jewelry industry in its battle against crime, according to industry crime statistics for the first six months of 2004 compiled by Jewelers Security Alliance, says John J. Kennedy, JSA president, in a just-released report.

Arrests of suspects accused of committing crimes against U.S. jewelry firms rose 31% compared to the same period in 2003, from 243 arrests up to 319 arrests.

“Arrests of jewelry criminals are at an all-time high,” says Kennedy. “The FBI and local law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. are making unprecedented efforts to capture, prosecute, and imprison jewelry criminals.” (That may be due in part to an increase in robberies, up 23% in the first six months, from 113 to 139, though the number of thefts—e.g., switches, card fraud, shipping—is down 34.4%, from 545 in to 298.)

Recent additional arrests in August alone included a suspect in a Philadelphia jewelry store armed robbery, arrested following a second robbery at the same store; a man arrested in Wilmington, Del., for suspected involvement in four jewelry store burglaries in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland; and a suspect arrested in Columbus, Ohio, for armed robbery of a retail jewelry store as well as a home invasion robbery and the robbery of a non-jewelry retail store.

The value of losses was lower, both for on-premises crimes (i.e., robbery, burglaries, grab-and-runs) and off-premises (i.e., against traveling salespeople). Total dollar losses for both are down 32%, from $77.9 million to $52.9 million.

There also has been a drop in murders committed during a jewelry industry crime. There were two reported homicides involving crimes against U.S. jewelry firms in the first half of 2004, the lowest figure in more than 25 years. In comparison, notes the report, during the past quarter-century, jewelry industry homicides for a full year have ranged from a low of 9 in 2000 to a high of 46 in 1980.

For complete statistics for the first six months of 2004, www.jewelerssecurity.org.