6 Takeaways From JSA's 2015 Annual Crime Report
Criminal activity usually captivates mainstream media outlets for all the wrong reasons. This is especially true when it comes to crimes against the jewelry industry, where extravagant heists and daring robberies seem like something you would see from Hollywood.
Unfortunately, these occurrences are very real and have adverse impacts that last long after they are reported.
At the beginning of each year, the Jewelers Security Alliance analyzes the crimes committed in the U.S from the prior year and, thankfully, there are mostly positive results from the 2015 Annual Crime Report.
Here are six key takeaways that are captured in the executive summary of the crime report:
1) There was a decrease in the total number of crimes
There was a 14.7% decrease in the total number of crimes reported to JSA. Only 1,117 were documented in 2014, whereas 1,381 were reported in 2014.
JSA uses only credible, case-specific information that they obtain from reliable sources such as law enforcement networks, trade associations, and their membership of over 20,000 jewelry businesses, among other sources. Therefore, it’s important to remember that not all jewelry crimes get reported – even to the police – and not all reports can be accurately verified.
This is one reason why we strongly encourage jewelers to develop working relationships with their local police departments. Not only can they help accurately report crimes, they also have the potential to be a crime deterrent so that you can prevent these incidents from occurring in the first place.
2) There was a decrease in total dollar losses
The total dollar losses from crimes* committed also substantially decreased, going from $77.8 million to $69.3 million – a drop of 10.9%.
JSA’s systematic approach to analyzing crimes also carries over to how they investigate dollar amounts. They calculate their findings based off of cost, not retail value and always use the most conservative amount.
Keep in mind that these statistics are from ‘crimes’ committed. The accidental losses that take place when shipping or receiving can be enormous too. For both of these scenarios, it’s crucial to have a well-managed inventory record keeping system so that, in the event your business has to submit an insurance claim, you’ll be properly compensated.
3) There was a decrease in smash-and-grab robberies, but trends are still apparent
The FBI helped local law enforcement agencies bring down two high-profile gangs in the first half of 2015. As a result, smash-and-grab robberies were cut in half from 48 in the first 6 months of the year, to 24 for the remainder of the year. This led to year-over-year smash-and-grab robberies falling 52.8% (110 reported in 2014).
Unfortunately, as shown by the charts below, smash-and-grab robberies continue to plague malls across the U.S. They appear to be more likely earlier in the year, during opening and closing hours, and less likely on weekends.
4) Another round of arrests helped to decrease rooftop burglaries
A major rooftop burglary gang was also apprehended in 2015, which brought these types of crimes down 47.2%, from 36 to 19.
While these crimes are elaborate and require a great deal of planning by the criminals carrying them out, there are precautions you can take to continue to bring this number lower.
5) Three jewelers were killed and three more were injured
While we hope to see this number reach zero, the number of jewelers who lost their lives as a result of crimes against them remained at three. There is some good news, however, as the same number were involved in non-fatal shootings (another number we hope to reach zero), which is down from 15 in 2014.
There are many tips for staying safe during violent situations, but if there is one takeaway to remember, it’s that you should stay calm and comply with the criminals. Any resistance is likely to put you in harm’s way.
6) After two consecutive reports of rising total dollar losses, 2015 saw a decline
Total dollar losses have declined by 22.5% since 2011 and since 2000, the decline has been an incredible 57.2%!
To keep these trends moving in the same direction, jewelers can’t be complacent. Criminals are still operating all over the world and many focus exclusively on the jewelry industry. They are becoming smarter, more technologically savvy and, as a result, it’s becoming more difficult to prevent their crimes and bring them to justice.
Even if your business was not involved in the 2015 statistics, don’t become one in 2016 or any year after. Constantly staying up-to-date on crime trends and loss prevention best practices is the key to keeping these trends on a downward slope.
*JSA’s Crime Definitions
- Robbery: Taking of property from a person by use of force or fear.
- Burglary: Entering premises after closing with intent to commit a crime. Includes hiding in a jewelry location, taking product and breaking out after closing.
- Theft: Taking of property without force or fear. Includes crimes such as check and credit card fraud, distraction crimes, diamond switches, sneak thefts and shipping losses that present evidence of criminal activity. The term “shoplifting” is too vague and not used to describe events in JSA’s report.