Overall crime against the industry increased by 4 percent in 2012, due to an increase in three-minute burglaries and grab-and-runs, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance’s annual statistics.
However, combined industry dollar losses due to crime fell an impressive 29 percent to $60.2 million—a sign of lesser-value crimes, the JSA says, noting that while smaller thefts like three-minute burglaries and grab-and runs increased in 2012, safe attacks, which can involve big hauls, decreased 19 percent.
“Low-dollar crimes have replaced the high-dollar crimes,” says JSA president John J. Kennedy. “A lot of the gangs have been taken out of commission over the past five or six years and that has had a dramatic cumulative effect on losses. The people who do grab-and-runs are not the hard-core professional criminals. They are 18-year-old kids.”
Perhaps the most troubling trend is the greater number of off-premise crimes—particularly home invasions—committed against jewelers.
“Last year there were nine home invasions, as opposed to three the previous year,” Kennedy says. “That is very unusual.”
See the bottom of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance homepage for tips on keeping your home safe from potential invasions.
However, crimes against traveling salespeople have greatly decreased, Kennedy says, noting that he used to hear of one a day.
Last year, the number of homicides of jewelers also fell—to two, from seven the prior year. The JSA says this represents a historic decline; from 1995 to 2000, the average annual number of jeweler homicides was 12.
The state experiencing the most crimes was California with 212, followed by Texas (143), New York (119), Pennsylvania (92), and Florida (85).