12 Jewelry Crimes in California: What You Can Do to Stay Safe
Jewelers Mutual lends its crime-prevention advice to jewelers all across the nation, because jewelry crime happens everywhere. Since most jewelry crime is driven by organized gangs, even local outbreaks of crime against jewelers tend to spread as the gangs move around and attempt to outpace investigators.
Sometimes, however, escalated criminal activity in a particular locale or region is sustained long enough to warrant a specific advisory. Unfortunately, our readers doing business in California — especially in the greater Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco areas — are operating at the epicenters of this increased criminal activity.
A disturbing trend
Some recent high-profile jewelry crimes in California include:
- A team of armed robbers forced the employees of a Southern California mall jewelry store to open showcases and hand over approximately 40 high-end watches. This jeweler’s other store at another mall in the area had been robbed in similar manner less than a year before.
- Two jewelry salesmen were driving in the greater Los Angeles area when two cars boxed them in and forced them to stop on a highway exit ramp. The robbers smashed the windows, reached in and activated the trunk latch, and made off with the salesmen's merchandise.
- Four robbers armed with knives violently robbed two diamond salesmen who had conducted business that day in downtown Los Angeles. After the day’s business, they drove to Beverly Hills for dinner with a client. Upon their arrival, the robbers accosted them and stole the salesmen’s bags, passports, and cash. The robbers did not get any jewelry merchandise, because the salesmen had wisely left their lines in a safe in Los Angeles.
- Criminals broke into a vehicle belonging to a saleswoman who worked in downtown Los Angeles. The break-in occurred in the parking lot of a store at which the saleswoman had stopped while on her way to the airport.
- A rooftop burglary occurred in a Southern California jewelry store. Burglars entered through the roof, disabled the surveillance system and alarm system, and cut into the safe. As they were attacking a second safe, they inadvertently started a fire that damaged the building.
- A man palmed a three-carat diamond and switched it with a cubic zirconia at a jewelry store in the greater Los Angeles area.
- Thieves performed a rooftop burglary at a jewelry store in the greater Los Angeles area. The criminals broke into an adjacent store and cut through the wall and the back of the safe. They removed all of the safe’s contents.
- Another rooftop burglary took place within 30 miles of the aforementioned. Thieves broke in through the roof, disabled the alarm system, and then cut into the safe.
- A jewelry salesman was robbed on Interstate 5 between San Diego and Los Angeles, near Oceanside. Three vehicles boxed him in and forced him to pull over. He was robbed at gunpoint.
- A salesman who worked in downtown Los Angeles was robbed at the entrance of a hotel there.
- A rooftop burglary occurred in the greater San Francisco area. The thieves cut through the roof of an adjacent premises, and then cut through the wall adjoining the jewelry store, and then cut into the safe, which had been situated against that adjoining wall.
- A salesperson was robbed of his line while on foot in San Francisco. The four robbers pulled up in a car and forced him at gunpoint to surrender his line.
- A salesman who worked in downtown Los Angeles was robbed at the airport.
Investigators suspect well-organized South American gangs in many of these and other incidents. In all cases investigators have found that the victims were under surveillance by the criminals for a minimum of several hours and, in most cases, for a number of days.
What you can do
Although no precautions can guarantee that you won’t be the target of a robbery or burglary, some fundamental habits can help you, your associates, and your business appear as unattractive targets for crime.
The first step is to address the reality that you very likely have been, are, or will be the subject of surveillance by criminals in search of a “soft target.” Jewelry business facilities, employees, and traveling salespeople are being cased by individuals with criminal intent.
The tips listed below may be particularly useful in the deterrence of crimes such as those described above:
- 10 Ways to Protect Your Business While on Vacation
- 6 Pieces of Home Security Advice for Jewelers
- 5 Safety Tips During the Most Vulnerable Times for Jewelry Businesses
- 9 Things to Keep in Mind When Setting up a Safe
- Why Sharing a Suspicious-Incident Logbook Can Keep You a Step Ahead
- Police Partnerships Key for Your Security
- Code Words & Phrases and Their Crime Deterrent Power
- Cell Phones: An Essential Piece of Security Equipment
- Criminals are Still Using False Alarms to Lull Jewelers to Sleep
- Discourage Grab-and-Run Thefts by Showing Only One Item at a Time
*This post was updated in July 2016