JSA reports ‘progress’ in anti-gem-theft lobbying

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance’s (JSA) efforts to get federal assistance to combat on-the-road jewelry thefts are paying off.

“Progress is being made in getting the FBI to give more resources and attention to fighting the South American theft gangs that have been devastating the jewelry industry,” John Kennedy, JSA president, said in a report to the industry coalition seeking federal help to fight the gangs.

That progress includes:

* The addition of three more FBI personnel to the five already on the FBI/Los Angeles Police Department task force fighting the South American theft gangs in the California. The task force has made “hundreds of arrests” in the past year, said Kennedy in his July 30 report.

* The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has included language requested by JSA for the report covering the FBI’s annual budget. That language directs the FBI to make the issue of on-the-road jewelry thefts a priority. (In part, that language “encourages the FBI to continue to devote the necessary resources to disrupting these criminal enterprises” committed by violent South American theft gangs against jewelry vendors.)

It is “significant and unusual for the Congress to take such a focused interest in such a specific area,” noted Kennedy.

“Despite these signs that things are moving in the right direction,” he cautioned, “we must keep the pressure on. There is no ‘promised land’ regarding this problem, and the theft gangs aren’t going to disappear.”