JSA: 2005 Sees ‘Progress’ on Crime

After jewelry crime hit record lows in 2004, it held steady in 2005 and in some areas showed improvement, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance’s yearly roundup of crime statistics.

The most important statistic—overall crime events—was down 5 percent in 2005, to 1,275, from 1,342 in 2004.

“I see a lot of good trends,” says JSA president John Kennedy. “Crime has come down from out-of-control levels to levels that are more manageable. I see a lot more law enforcement, more arrests, more people sharing information on suspects and crime. It seems things are moving in the right direction.”

The report did have some discouraging news: Overall dollar losses jumped 2.1 percent to $111.5 million, from $109.2 million in 2004.

“The bad news is that some people did lose a lot of money,” Kennedy says. “It may be that the dumber crooks and criminals have been arrested. And the ones that are out there are a little more shrewd and experienced and are able to get more money from each take.”

Burglaries also increased. In 2005 there were 375 compared with 325 in 2004. Some 66 percent of these were “three- minute burglaries,” generally defined as quick, middle-of-the-night “smash and grabs.” The largest three-minute burglary loss in 2005 was $500,000.

There were also more jewelry-related homicides. In 2004, there were three, the lowest number in 25 years. In 2005, there were nine—a number “still at historic lows,” Kennedy notes.

But 2005 was mostly full of good news: Robberies—which involve the use or threat of force—decreased 14.4 percent, to 220, down from 257 in 2004.

No trunk or remount show losses were reported. “That’s remarkable,” says Kennedy. “Just a few years back, there would be 25 losses in a given year. The trunk shows are spending a lot of money on security, and it’s worked.”

Robberies of traveling salespeople were also down, but that may be because fewer are on the road, Kennedy says.

“Overall we are making progress,” Kennedy says. “But this is still a very dangerous industry.”