Every year, at the Jewelers’ Security Alliance’s annual luncheon, president John Kennedy asks attendees to observe a moment of silence for all the jewelers who had been killed during industry-related crimes over the last year.
At this year’s lunch, held Saturday in New York City, he didn’t do that. The reason: No U.S. jewelers were killed during industry-related crimes in 2019.
That is a “big milestone,” Kennedy said—one that the industry had come close to before but never quite achieved. (In 2018, for instance, there was one jeweler killed.) For the last few years, the numbers of jewelers killed during crimes had been in the single digits—which was itself a huge improvement over years past.
“In the 90s, one year, we had 37 people killed,” Kennedy said. In 1984, there were 47 fatalities.
This was the first year, however, that the number equaled zero—the result of continued information sharing in the industry, he said, and the JSA’s cooperation with law enforcement. One-quarter of the attendees at this year’s event came from law enforcement.
“So many people provide and share information,” Kennedy said. “We couldn’t do what we do without people coming together.”
The news wasn’t all good—there were three innocent bystanders and two criminals killed during the commission of jewelry crimes last year.
The nonindustry fatalities included a bystander and a UPS driver who were both killed following a December robbery in a Florida. In another incident in Houston in November, an armed man in a pawnshop was killed during a firefight with robbers.
“We mourn their loss,” Kennedy said, and he asked attendees to observe a moment of silence for those victims.
(There was one jeweler killed last year: Patrick Murphy, owner of Murphy Jewelers in Pottsville, Pa., who was killed while on vacation in New Orleans. However, that incident, while undoubtedly tragic, was not considered a jewelry-related crime.)
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