JSA: 2005 sees ‘progress’ on crime

After jewelry crime hit record lows in 2004, it held steady in 2005 and in some areas showed improvement, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance’s yearly round-up of crime stats. The most importance statistic—overall crime events—was down 5 percent in 2005, to 1,275, from 1,342 in 2004.

“I see a lot of good trends,” said John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance. “Crime has come down from out-of-control levels to levels that are more manageable. I see a lot more law enforcement, more arrests, more people sharing information on suspects and crime. It seems things are moving in the right direction.”

The report did have some negative numbers: Overall dollar losses jumped 2.1 percent to $111.5 million, from $109.2 million in 2004.

“The bad news is that some people did lose a lot of money,” Kennedy said. “It may be that the dumber crooks and criminals have been arrested. And the ones that are out there a little more shrewd and experienced and are able to get more money from each take.”

Burglaries also increased. In 2005 there were 375, from 325 in 2004. Some 66 percent of these were “three minutes burglaries,” generally defined as quick, middle of the night “smash and grabs.” The largest three minute burglary loss in 2005 was $500,000.

There were also more jewelry related homicides. In 2004, there were three—the lowest number in 25 years. In 2005, there were nine—a number “still at historic lows,” Kennedy notes.

But mostly 2005 was about good news: Robberies—which involve the use or threat of force—decreased 14.4 percent to 220, from 257 in 2004.

No trunk or remount show losses were reported. “That’s remarkable,” said Kennedy. “Just a few years back, there would be 25 losses in a given year. The trunk shows are spending a lot of money on security and it’s worked.”

Robberies of traveling salespeople were also down – but that may be because there are fewer on the road, Kennedy said.

“Overall we are making progress,” Kennedy said. “But this is still a very dangerous industry.”