Crime Watch

COMMON SENSE CAN PREVENT THEFTS

A jewelry salesman who takes his line with him to his hotel room is robbed of $250,000 in merchandise by masked men waiting for him in the hotel garage the next morning.

A jeweler loses thousands of dollars of jewelry that he leaves in a bag in an unguarded “safe” area of a hotel.

A salesman’s jewelry line is stolen when he’s distracted at the airport on his way to a show.

All three incidents occurred during the summer show season, and all could have been avoided, says John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.

Kennedy made his comments at a meeting of suppliers before The JCK Show in Las Vegas in June. The show, which had 2,200 exhibitors and more than 15,000 buyers, was protected by “the largest contingent of police, FBI and other security enforcement agencies ever seen at a jewelry trade show,” said Kennedy. Security officers were located at the show (held in the Sands Expo & Convention Center) and at other buildings that exhibitors and buyers frequented, including the airport and hotels. (No security violations were reported at the show itself.)

But Kennedy told the vendors the best security precautions in the world can’t prevent losses due to a victim’s negligence. Jewelry thieves – many of them members of well-organized gangs – are attracted to all jewelry shows, so attendees mustn’t ever ignore common-sense security advice. He offered these basic tips:

  1. Use the show vault to store merchandise overnight. Don’t take jewelry with you when you leave the show for the evening.

  2. Show your jewelry only at the show. Showing jewelry in your hotel room puts you, your customer and your merchandise at risk.

  3. Protect yourself: Always remove your show badge before you leave a jewelry show. Never identify yourself to strangers as a jeweler or discuss jewelry business where you can be overheard. Don’t open your hotel door to strangers; call the hotel desk first to confirm an unexpected visit by a “hotel employee.”

  4. Ship your jewelry home when the show ends instead of taking it with you. “Airport security checkpoints, baggage areas, rental-car return locations and hotel lobbies are especially high-risk areas,” he said. Be especially alert when you are separated from your luggage as it passes through the X-ray conveyor belt at the airport security checkpoint. One thief can block your passage while another quickly steals your bag.

  5. Never take your line home. About 20% of all jewelry thefts occur near or at home. This compromises your merchandise and your family’s safety.

  6. When you do carry your line, keep it in your grip or under your physical control at all times.

  7. Never leave a line unattended. One salesman left his merchandise on the seat of his car when he went inside to get some boxes; it was gone when he returned.

  8. Always assume you are being followed.

  9. Don’t pay attention to distractions of any kind. Common examples include someone spilling mustard on your clothes, flashing flashbulbs in your face, asking you for help or saying you’ve dropped some money.

  10. Get a cellular telephone for your car so you can call for help if need be.

  11. Never resist an armed robber.