As trade shows and gatherings start to return—JCK Las Vegas and Luxury by JCK is set for Aug. 24 through Aug. 30—insurance provider Berkley Asset Protection is reminding attendees and exhibitors to be aware of their personal safety and prepared for the loss risks that can occur in large gatherings.
JCK talked to Gregory J. Smith, executive vice president in charge of claims and loss control for Berkley, and discussed some of the precautions the firm is recommending.
“Overall, I’d say security is more of a risk these days,” says Smith. “Criminals tend not to be worried about getting arrested because of bail reforms. In general, gun violence is up and there’s a lack of engagement by law enforcement—either they’re told to stand down or they just don’t have the manpower anymore. In short, crime in jewelry stores is up, and we’re seeing more snatch and grabs.”
To that end, Smith offered a handful of security tips to keep attendees and exhibitors safe during the upcoming trade shows.
1. Only show product to attendees and businesses that have identified themselves, especially if they are wearing a mask or face covering. It’s wise to ask for identification, and also take a picture of their badge or use the QR scanner, if available. This helps with sales follow-up in addition to security.
“Up until March 2020, if someone walked into a jewelry store or booth with a mask, you would assume it’s a robber,” says Smith. “In today’s world, masks are ubiquitous. And with the renewed spike from the Delta variant, it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a mask mandate in large crowds. You can’t ask for people to take their masks off, so it’s prudent to ask for ID or take a picture of their badge.”
2. Only wear badges on the show floor, at events organized by the trade show operator, and at private events related to the show. Always remove your badge when leaving the show floor and events.
“Bad actors are going to figure out what you’re doing in Vegas and could follow you to your room, do a push-in robbery,” says Smith, noting it’s common to see people wearing badges in hotel elevators. “You could be carrying property—it might be a few watches or a few pieces. If you have anyone who sees you, including a cab driver or a bellman, they’re going to link you to being a jeweler. You’re identifying yourself, you could become a target.”
3. Don’t advertise your exact location, room number, or anything that could compromise your safety.
“While it’s okay to advertise your booth number, don’t reveal any personal details, especially your hotel room,” says Smith. “Once you’re outside of the show, you’re not as well-protected as inside the show.”
4. Don’t share that you work with high-value merchandise, especially with strangers such as service workers, other hotel guests or staff, taxi drivers, etc.
“Again, you’re identifying yourself as a jeweler,” says Smith. “Idle small talk can put you at risk. You have to be prudent about what you’re relating.”
5. Even if you’re not holding or wearing merchandise, be cautious about carrying any swag or marketing collateral that could make it obvious to a criminal that you work with jewelry or other high-value merchandise.
“You’re telling people what you do and you’re identifying yourself as a jeweler,” says Smith. “If you’re checking into a hotel with marketing materials, you’re essentially telling the desk a jeweler is staying in room 482.
“In today’s world, you have to be cautious.”
Top: 2019 JCK Show at the Sands (photo by Camilla Sjodin)
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