Robberies of traveling salesmen lowest since 1980s, says JSA

Despite a few news reports about large thefts, the actual number of robberies of traveling jewelry salesmen, and losses incurred, are the lowest so far in years, says data of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.

According to JSA figures, as of June 30, there had been 83 robberies—the least since the early 1980s, John Kennedy, JSA president told JCK. Total dollar losses tallied just under $17.2 million, also the lowest in several years (excluding 2005).

The following are the statistics for crime losses by traveling jewelry salespeople in the U.S. for the first half year in the past seven years:

* 2000 – 103 robberies with losses of $22.5 million;

* 2001 – 123 robberies with losses of $24.2 million;

* 2002 – 94 robberies with losses of $20.2 million;

* 2003 – 103 robberies with losses of $22.5 million;

* 2004 – 97 robberies with losses of $18.5 million; and

* 2005 – 102 robberies with losses of $15.2 million.

There are several reasons for the decline in the number of robberies, Kennedy said.

“The primary one is the increased number of arrests in recent years by the FBI and local law enforcement,” he said.

Another factor is that there are fewer salesmen on road, due to the rising costs of travel (gas, airfare, lodging) and the fact that some of what salesmen did can now be done by overnight mail or on the Internet.

One little known fact is that “a disproportionate number” of these robberies and thefts are suffered by salesmen from foreign countries, such as India, Israel, or Hong Kong, who travel and work in the United States for their companies, Kennedy said. They tend to carry large amounts, have English as a second language, and are less familiar with getting around in the United States.

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