Better Safe than Sorry: Security Tips for Exhibitors and Buyers

Security Tips for Exhibitors and Buyers 

Exhibitors attending jewelry trade shows are prime targets of South American theft and robbery gangs. These gangs travel to all major jewelry shows. Exhibitors should assume that they are targets of these criminals and be extremely cautious, especially during arrival and departure. 

Virtually all show-connected losses could be prevented by shipping directly into and out of the show location with an armored courier service. Exhibitors traveling with merchandise are at increased risk at hotels, car rental agencies, restaurants, parking lots, and while traveling to and from the show city. Gangs use “money drop” scams, hotel-room invasions, distractions, and thefts from unattended vehicles to steal exhibitor merchandise. 

Buyers beware, you too are at risk. 

When South American theft and robbery gangs see people going to and coming from jewelry shows with bags, they assume they are carrying valuable merchandise. 

Criminals can mistake buyers who are not carrying valuable merchandise with exhibitors who are. Gangs also have particularly targeted laptops and other valuable items with which people travel. Therefore, all jewelers, whether carrying valuable merchandise or not, must take proper precautions or risk becoming another crime victim.

The following tips can help keep both exhibitors, buyers, and their jewelry safe.

Ship your lines using an armored courier service. Do not carry it. 

If you cannot ship your line, store it immediately upon arrival in Las Vegas in the show vaults at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Keep it vaulted there during your entire stay at the show. 

Carrying bags or cases that could be mistaken for a jewelry line can make you a target. 

It is very dangerous to host or attend informal jewelry shows in hotel rooms. Show jewelry only at the Sands—for your own safety, the safety of your customers and the protection of your line. 

It is extremely dangerous to make sales calls on accounts in show cities before, during, and after jewelry shows. 
Gangs are rampant in show cities around show time and will target salespeople calling on retailers. 

If working at a booth, you could be victimized by switches, distractions, or other theft crimes, just as retailers are victimized. Exhibitors must be in control of their goods at all times. If you don’t have enough personnel to control the security of your booth, consider hiring a guard. 

Be discreet. Do not wear show badges or display identifying materials outside the show floor.
When leaving trade shows, avoid cabs and limousines cruising for fares. Use a properly identified phone-dispatched car service or shuttle bus provided by the show. 

Buyers—do not accept delivery of jewelry merchandise inside or outside the Sands Expo. Have all goods shipped to your place. 

Do not leave valuables such as personal jewelry in your hotel room when you are not there. Unneeded personal jewelry can be checked in a safe deposit box in the lobby of the hotel. 

Make sure the door to your hotel room is bolted or chained at all times. Look through the keyhole to determine who is there if someone knocks. Do not open the door to strangers or even to those who appear to be hotel employees unless you have requested service. 

Never leave laptops, briefcases, luggage, or other valuables unattended. If you must put items down, put them between your legs and keep them in contact with your body. 

Be discreet in carrying easily identified jewelry-related bags or other materials outside the exhibit hall, and be discreet in your conversations concerning jewelry and the show. When not on the shuttle bus or at organized show-related events, try not to identify yourself as a jeweler. 

If you travel by plane, do not put personal jewelry in your checked baggage—keep it in a carry-on bag.
When traveling to Vegas, bring only the credit cards you expect to use. Leave all other cards at home. 

Do not venture into unfamiliar neighborhoods at late hours. 

Don’t let your awareness of security matters be clouded by excessive alcohol consumption. 

For additional information on security, visit the JSA Web site.