California Mall Smash-and-Grabs “Spiking,” JSA Says


California has seen a “spike” in smash-and-grab robberies at local malls, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA).

The incidents typically involve three to seven individuals who break open display cases with sledgehammers, typically grabbing diamonds and watches. The most recent incident occurred in Concord, Calif., on Nov. 20 (pictured).

That was preceded by incidents in Milpitas, Calif., on May 20; Hayward, Calif., on May 21; Daly City, Calif. on Sept. 20, and San Jose, Calif., on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29.

“We have seen a big pattern in California,” says John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance. “This is currently limited to California at this time, but it can happen anywhere.”

He notes that the gangs usually case the store beforehand.

JSA gives the following advice on how to prevent, or at least mitigate the damage from, smash-and-grabs:

– Showcases with special frames and burglary-resistant laminated glass on the front and sides can withstand hammer blows and mitigate losses. Generally, robbers are able to take only a little bit of merchandise from a small hole. In addition, robbers sometimes cut themselves on small holes and leave behind blood with valuable DNA evidence.

– An audible glass-breakage alarm on showcases can scare smash-and-grab robbers away—they are generally trying to remain in the store for less than a minute.

– Buzzers on the door can help to keep out potential robbers.

– Armed, off-duty, in-store police officers can also deter smash-and-grabs.

– Having high-end watches and loose diamonds spread out among several showcases, as opposed to being concentrated in one, can reduce losses in smash-and-grabs.

–  While ceiling cameras sometimes capture useless photos of the tops of heads and hats, eye-level surveillance cameras inside and outside the store can provide valuable evidence for police.

– Jewelers should never resist, but let the robbers take what they want and have insurance cover the loss. The suspects may not just have sledgehammers or otherwise dangerous tools, they may also have guns.

– Jewelers should keep a log book of suspicious incidents. Putting aside and saving surveillance video of suspicious incidents can be a great help in subsequent investigations.

– Jewelers should always share security information regarding casings and suspects with local jewelers and police as well as with the JSA.

(Photo courtesy of Jewelers’ Security Alliance)

Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine

By: Rob Bates

Log Out

Are you sure you want to log out?

CancelLog out