Crime Watch


Leaving jewelry in showcases overnight is “inviting burglars to break into your store,” warns a Jewelers’ Security Alliance bulletin on three-minute burglaries. “If they can see it from outside, they will try to steal it!”

Three-minute burglars – so-called because of the amount of time it takes to break in, grab the merchandise and leave – can range from youth gang members and drug addicts to professional burglars. They smash a door or window to get in, then smash showcases to get the merchandise.

In 1994, they accounted for almost half (46%) of all burglaries recorded by JSA. Most of the burglaries occurred, says JSA, because jewelers didn’t take time to put away all merchandise. JSA recommends these simple procedures to guard against three-minute burglaries:

  • Never leave merchandise visible overnight, regardless of value. Even if your insurance company allows you to leave out goods up to a certain value, put everything away so you don’t tempt burglars. Make sure you understand your insurance requirements about leaving merchandise out of the safe.

  • Consider adding a second, less-expensive safe for low-end merchandise if your main safe doesn’t have enough room for everything.

  • Install metal grating that can be rolled down the inside of your doors and windows at night. Interior gates discourage three-minute burglaries because the burglar must spend time cutting the gate after breaking the glass and causing an alarm to sound.

  • Proper lighting, good visibility in the store and 24-hour video surveillance systems help to keep burglars away.

  • A jeweler is often the prime target of thieves breaking into a shopping mall, so make sure mall security officers check your store immediately upon the discovery of any forced entry into the mall.