Industry / Retail

Surge in Grab-and-Runs Tops Mixed Year for Jewelry Crime


Jewelry-industry crime rose in 2021 over pre-pandemic days, even as overall dollar losses fell, according to the latest annual crime report from the Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA).

Those numbers may seem “contradictory,” says JSA president John Kennedy, but they were both fueled by a surge in grab-and-runs, a relatively low-dollar crime.

Overall, the JSA logged 1,687 crimes against U.S. jewelry companies in 2021, a decrease from 2020, when it recorded 1,718 incidents. But that represents a 17.3% increase over pre-pandemic 2019, when the JSA reported 1,438 crimes.

A significant percentage of those crimes were grab-and-runs. There were 842 such thefts in 2021, a 44.9% jump from the 581 that occurred in 2020.

“Out of 1,600 crimes, there were over 800 grab-and-runs,” says Kennedy. “That’s a pretty large increase.”

In general, violent jewelry crime increased last year, but not terribly, Kennedy says.

“It’s not a huge number of people being assaulted or hurt,” he adds, “but it’s up from what it is.”

For example, there was only one retailer killed during a jewelry-related crime in 2021, down from two the prior year. And while any loss is a tragedy, that number isn’t as bad as in years gone by, when the industry saw double-digit fatalities.

There was one incident in which a jeweler was shot but not killed during 2021—down from seven in 2020—but eight incidents where gunshots were fired, but no one was hit, up from six the previous year.

Other facts from the report:

– As has been seen in years past, jewelry robberies were more likely to occur on weekdays rather than on weekends in 2021, with Friday the most likely day for a robbery to occur, and Saturday and Sunday the least likely.

– December 2021 was the year’s most active month for robberies, while August was the least active.

– In 2021, robberies were most likely to occur in two states, which are, not coincidentally, two of the biggest:  California and Texas, which together comprised one-third of all jewelry robberies. That’s a reversal from 2020, when Texas was the biggest magnet for violent robberies, with California second.

Photo: Getty Images

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By: Rob Bates

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