JSA: Jewelry Crime Hitting New Lows

Dollar losses, crimes against jewelry sales-people, and jewelry-related homicides all dropped during 2006, sometimes hitting levels not seen in 20 years, Jewelers’ Security Alliance reported.

Overall dollar losses in 2006 were $105.8 million, down 5.1 percent from 2005. The number of off-premises crimes, principally against traveling salespersons, de-creased from 181 to 155, the fewest since the 1980s.

Homicides declined from nine in 2005 to seven in 2006, and John Kennedy, JSA president, notes there have been no jewelry-related homicides in the last 12 months. “That’s really rare,” he says. “It’s a considerable reduction from what it used to be. Back in the bad old ’90s, you would have 15 to 30 jewelry-related homicides a year. The year I started [at JSA], there were 37.”

Kennedy attributes the good news to increased attention by law enforcement to the jewelry industry as well as greater information sharing, both within the industry and with law enforcement people. “All the increased police attention and prosecutions are scaring away the criminals from the jewelry industry,” he says. “The criminals see jewelry getting too hot, so they are moving to other areas.”

He adds: “We are only beginning to see the positive results of this cooperation. We expect to see much more positive results in the next year.”

Despite these encouraging trends, the number of criminal events rose, mostly because of a big jump in grab-and-run thefts, which went from 175 in 2005 to 419 in 2006, an increase of 146 percent. There were also 171 three-minute burglaries.

Kennedy notes that grab-and-run crimes and three-minute burglaries are committed by low-skill criminals and indicate a trend toward low-skill crimes against the jewelry industry.

Robberies in jewelry stores were steady, Kennedy said, “though the long-term trend is down.”

Jewelry Crime in 2006

Source: Jewelers’ Security Alliance
Criminal Events Up 11.5%
Total Crime Losses (in $) Down 5.1%
On-Premises Criminal Events Up 15.8%
Off-Premises Criminal Events Down 14.4%

Where Crimes Occur Outside the Store

Source: Jewelers’ Security Alliance
Parking Lots 43%
Hotel/Motel 25%
Residence 10%
Gas Stations 7%
Restaurants 6%
Airports 1%