In a reversal of the trend from previous years, the total number of crimes against the jewelry industry increased 16.6 percent in 2008, the Jewelers’ Security Alliance reported. Total dollar losses also increased to $103.5 million.
“Crime was definitely up,” says JSA president John Kennedy. But he notes there is no correlation historically between crime against the jewelry industry and bad economic times.
“It is rare for someone who has lost their job or had their house foreclosed to commit an armed robbery of a jewelry store,” he says. “It’s a complicated set of things. It could be just a few gangs doing a greater number of crimes.”
However, the overall gain was fueled by an increase in the amount of grab and run crimes, which increased 49 percent in 2008 for a total of 362. Since those crimes are often committed by amateurs, they could be impacted by the economy.
1,505 crimes were reported to JSA in 2008. The state with the most reported incidents was California, followed by Florida and Texas. Those states held the first three spots in 2007 as well.
There were 425 arrests of criminals involved in the 1505 crimes, the JSA says, down slightly from 446 arrests in 2007.
The news wasn’t all negative. Kennedy notes that while, ten years ago, it was standard for ten to 15 jewelers to be killed a year, in 2008, only two jewelers were killed.
“That number has gone down and it’s stayed down and we are very happy to see that,” Kennedy says.