Jewelers Mutual Warns of Spike in Burglaries

Outbreaks of burglaries against jewelry stores are affecting several Jewelers Mutual policyholders, the Neenah, Wisc.-based insurance company said. In particular, two types of crimes—smash, grab, and run; and safe and vault burglaries—are rising, resulting in significant losses as well as mental trauma.

Smash, grab, and run burglaries
Smash, grab, and run burglaries are the most common type of jewelry store burglaries today and they often happen when jewelry is left out of safe overnight and is visible from the outside of the store. The tactics consist of a burglar smashing a glass window or door and quickly stealing exposed merchandise. In addition to significant jewelry losses, these crimes cause extensive physical damage to the store, including windows, doors, and showcases. Repairing the damage often results in lost selling time as well.

Jewelers Mutual outlined the following prevention measures:

* Place merchandise in a safe or vault overnight. If you don’t have room in your safe or vault, place the lower-valued merchandise in a locked cabinet or drawer, out of sight from the criminals. Be sure to comply with your insurance policy provisions in regards to merchandise during closed-to-business hours. 

* Place customer repairs in the safe or vault; don’t leave them in your work area.

* Remove all jewelry from show windows at night.

* Do not cover showcases. This gives criminals the perception that there’s something worth stealing in the showcases.

* Use UL-listed burglary resistant glazing material on windows and showcases. This material will slow down the criminals.

* Verify that your burglar alarm system is on and working.

Safe and vault burglaries
More sophisticated burglaries involve attempts to disable alarms and enter safes. Sometimes burglars gain access to a jewelry store by cutting a hole in the roof or in a common wall shared with an adjacent business. Guards or police officers responding to burglar alarm signals may not be able to detect exterior signs of forced entry and may leave without further investigation. Other times, burglars may trigger an alarm signal and wait to see who responds and how long it takes.

Jewelers Mutual outlined the following prevention measures:

* Insist on a UL-certificated Central Station burglar alarm system, if available. The certificate serves as evidence that the premises, safes, and/or vaults are protected by a burglar alarm system meeting UL requirements for installation, operation, and maintenance.

* Confirm that your alarm system provides line security. Any conventional burglar alarm system is vulnerable to defeat or compromise (severing communication paths between the store and the alarm monitoring facility without triggering an alarm signal). Line security systems reduce this vulnerability by detecting any compromise attempt on your alarm connection. If you don’t have line security, you don’t have adequate burglar alarm protection as a jeweler.

* Confirm that your security system can detect an unauthorized entry through the roof, a rear exit, a bathroom window, an air conditioning unit, or through a wall. If you’re unsure of the extent of your protection, contact your alarm service provider.

* Test your alarm system periodically, and confirm with your alarm service company that your alarm system has received proper maintenance.

* Respond to all alarm signals. Never take an alarm signal for granted by assuming it is a false alarm.

* Provide your alarm service company with a key to your premises if they provide guard services, so when they respond to an alarm, they can conduct a thorough investigation.

* Provide your alarm service company with cell phone numbers at which an owner and/or designated employees can be contacted in an alarm condition.

* Store merchandise in a UL-listed, burglary-resistant safe when you are closed to business. Burglars use a variety of tools that allow them to easily enter a wide range of safes and vaults. To provide resistance until authorities arrive, safes, modular vault panels, and vault doors should meet Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) ratings for burglary-resistance.

Jewelers Mutual policyholders receive a subscription to the Jewelers Security Network, which quickly alerts jewelers to crimes against jewelers. Commercial Lines policyholders who are not receiving alerts can send their updated e-mail address to

Your Jewelers Mutual insurance agent can refer jewelers to a network of qualified resources that work closely with the jewelry industry and are knowledgeable about your specific security needs.

For additional security tips, visit and click on JM University. Jewelers Mutual offers two online training courses that take 35-40 minutes to complete, a two-disk DVD set, and other materials that can be ordered online or by calling us at 800-558-6411. These courses and supplies are free to policyholders.

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