SHOW SECURITY INCIDENTS SPUR NEED FOR CAUTION
Getting exposure on national TV or having a story about you flashed nationwide on the AP wire is the sort of instant fame that many jewelers — retailers or manufacturers — might think the stuff dreams are made of. But, in our industry, if you’re talking about a news event likely to attract crooks, the dream can become a nightmare.
This year’s JCK Las Vegas show got a taste of the nightmare side of publicity. The good news is that the bad stories were much exaggerated and that exhibitors and buyers at our show were almost entirely unaffected. If those who did suffer losses had paid attention to the most basic good advice of the Jewelers Security Alliance, chances are that they too could have come through unscathed.
The first security false step came before the show opened when a national TV news program showed Brinks trucks being loaded in New York. All the jewelry involved, the newscaster assured the audience, was headed for a big jewelry show in Las Vegas. This certainly was a nice open invitation to any jewel thief.
But this unfortunately is the sort of worry the entire jewelry industry must live with. Any time a major show is held, the bad guys know about it and are ready to move into town right along with the buyers and exhibitors.
The thieves who follow the jewelry show circuit are real professionals who plan their hits carefully and methodically. This was brought home to our show advisory board very forcefully when, on the final day of the show, its members viewed a closed circuit video of the actual theft of a line that took place a few days earlier in a Las Vegas hotel lobby. The video showed clearly how the theft “team” worked in concert to prepare for the snatch, perform it and then cover the snatcher once the deed was done.
This theft, and a number of others like it, occurred far from the Expo Center show floor, as a story in our July issue reported. The same story noted that these thefts, and the few incidents that did occur at the show, were almost entirely the result of inattentiveness by those who were robbed.
The truth is that the JCK Las Vegas show probably is one of the most secure in the world. Its protective network includes the on-site security staff, the full resources of the JSA, the expertise of our security consultant Al Cooper, and the combined efforts of the FBI, the Las Vegas Police Department and the security staffs in the various hotels. One of the most critical, and original, elements in this network is the briefing which JSA staff members give airport personnel in all major hub cities serving Las Vegas. The security blanket truly covers any visitor on the way to and from the show as well as at the show.