A huge increase in grab and run incidents—in which customers run off with jewelry shown to them—drove up jewelry crime 17 percent in 2008, reversing the recent downward trend, Jewelers’ Security Alliance reported.
“Crime was definitely up in 2008,” says JSA president John Kennedy. But he notes there is no correlation historically between crime against the jewelry industry and bad economic times.
“It is rare for someone who has lost their job or had their house foreclosed to commit an armed robbery of a jewelry store,” he says. “It’s a complicated set of things. It could be just a few gangs doing a greater number of crimes.”
However, since grab and run crimes are often committed by amateurs, they could be affected by the economy, Kennedy says. Grab and run incidents increased 49 percent, for a total of 362.
Even though crime was up, jewelry-related arrests were down: There were 425 in 2008, compared with 446 in 2007.
And while there were still many violent incidents, Kennedy notes that in 2008 only two jewelers were killed compared with 10 to 15 per year a decade ago.
“That number has gone down, and it’s stayed down, and we are very happy to see that,” Kennedy says.