An FBI task force to combat South American jewelry theft gangs in the southeastern United States has been established in Miami, reports John J. Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA). The task force is composed of members of the FBI and South Florida police departments.
Such a task force has been JSA’s No. 1 goal for almost a year, following a sharp increase in attacks in the past 18 months on jewelry salespersons traveling in the Southeast. JSA lobbied for establishment of the task force during meetings with FBI and other government and law enforcement officials. A similar task force in Los Angeles has operated successfully for more than two years, effectively hindering the activities of theft gangs in Southern California.
In addition, Kennedy told JCK, the Southern Jewelry Travelers Association (SJTA) has taken “a strong leadership role in improving the security of its members on the road.”
The Southeast is just one area in which JSA’s efforts to improve jewelry industry security have been successful in recent months:
JSA is working closely with an ad hoc task force of the New York City Police Dept., based in Queens, N.Y., and is focusing on “a pattern of crimes” against traveling jewelry salespeople between Boston and New York.
Officials of JSA, working with the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA) and the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT), have met with officials of the new Transportation Security Administration to educate the agency about special security risks and needs of traveling jewelers at airports.
Thanks to a $25,000 grant from Rolex Watch U.S.A. Inc., JSA has increased the number of contributions (usually $500 to $1,000) it makes to private organizations of law enforcement personnel, resulting in greater awareness of jewelry crime among thousands of active police personnel.