Grab and Run Crimes Up 146%; Ten Steps to Reduce Losses

The Jewelers Security Alliance says that “grab and run” crimes totaled 419 in 2006—a 146 percent increase over the prior year.

This week alone JSA received three reports of grab and run crimes in Littleton, Colo., Evesham, N.J., and Keene, N.H., the organization said in a statement

JSA outlines ten steps to reduce grab and run losses. They are:

1. Never show more than one item at a time.

2. Make sure during a sale presentation that merchandise is put away in showcases and locked when taking out additional goods.

3. If a second item is requested, show it on your own wrist or finger.

4. Do not bring entire trays of diamond merchandise or a diamond wallet to the counter when waiting on a customer.

5. If you are showing valuable goods to a new customer, you may wish to have a second employee stand on the customer’s side of the showcase during the presentation.

6. The physical set up of a store can create a less tempting grab and run target. Some stores have diamond rooms or alcoves that may make it more difficult for a thief to run. Having the thief sit to examine goods may discourage an attempt to grab and run. Not showing high-end goods near the door might also make the thief think twice about the distance and route of an escape.
7. Obvious surveillance cameras tend to discourage grab and run thieves. Cameras should be positioned at eye level to get a full face picture of everyone entering and leaving.

8. Having a buzzer system on the entrance may cause a thief to think that a jeweler could electronically block the door, preventing a quick exit.

9. While not every jeweler may feel that his or her clientele will accept it, many jewelers have been successful in requesting identification from unknown customers being shown high-end goods. A simple sign saying, “My insurance company requires that I ask identification of the customer before displaying this item” has been used successfully. While this may not be acceptable in every retail setting, nonetheless, many very fine jewelers use this technique regularly.

10. If you do have a grab and run, do not chase the thief because the thief may have a weapon, or you may be hurt in any physical struggle that ensues.