Crime against the U.S. jewelry industry dropped “sharply” in the first nine months of the year, says a report by the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.
“The results for 2003’s nine months are very encouraging,” says JSA president John Kennedy. “If current trends continue, we’re heading for the lowest number of crimes against the jewelry industry in 15 years. While it’s still dangerous to be a jeweler, I believe the industry is making very significant headway in reducing the scourge of jewelry crime.”
The total number of “off-premises crimes”—i.e., crimes against traveling salesmen and all other crimes not committed on jewelry premises—fell 23% through Sept. 30, from 180 incidents in 2002 to 138 this year. The total number of on-premises crimes—including robberies, burglaries, and thefts from retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers—dropped 17.6%, from 1,117 in 2002 to 920 this year. Because of a handful of high-dollar incidents, however, dollar losses haven’t dropped this year as much as actual incidents. Dollar losses are down just 6.8% through Sept. 30, compared with 2002.
There are several reasons for the declines, says Kennedy.
“The FBI and local law enforcement agencies have never been more active in investigating jewelry crimes and arresting suspects,” he explains. “Lobbying, improved information sharing and education efforts by JSA, Jewelers’ Mutual Insurance Co., Rolex, and other important firms have helped encourage this upsurge in law enforcement action. In addition, since 9/11, law enforcement has been more aggressive with respect to such issues as airports and immigration, which can have a big impact on jewelry crime.
“Courts are also taking jewelry industry cases more seriously, and sentences are getting longer,” Kennedy says. ” It’s no longer unusual for jewelry criminals to be convicted and receive severe prison sentences of 20 years or more.
“Finally, many jewelers are following more careful security procedures and are joining together into local anti-crime networks.”
JSA also reported that a total of 235 suspects had been arrested for crimes against the jewelry industry during the first nine months of 2003.