Jewelry Store Thefts and Holiday Shopping: 5 Things You Need To Know
As you prepare for the busy holiday shopping season, don't forget to stay vigilant with your security measures.
Thieves come out in full force during the holidays. Knowing they can blend in with the rest of us who are out shopping for gifts, they're looking to pad their own wallet or collection.
With jewelry store thefts increasing in recent years, your entire staff needs to be prepared to help prevent crimes that can easily go unnoticed.
Keep these five things in mind as you begin to prepare your jewelry store for the busy holiday season.
Jewelry Store Security Tips for the Holidays
1. Common Types of Jewelry Store Theft
When the term of "theft" is used, most people probably envision grab-and-run or sneak thefts.
Those are two of the most common types of thefts facing jewelers, but criminals don't stop there.
Some thefts are accompanied by an element of distraction, where a coordinated group works together to draw attention away from merchandise being stolen.
While less common, these other types of jewelry store theft still need to be taken seriously:
- Internal theft
- Switch theft
- Credit card fraud
- Cyber theft
You can add an extra layer of defense against thefts by placing jewelry store security materials around your showcases that let potential thieves know you will only show one item at a time and require an ID.
2. Take Physical Inventory on a Regular Basis
Doing a complete reconciliation of your entire inventory isn't feasible during such a busy time (and probably only needs to be done annually if you have perpetual jewelry inventory software).
However, daily case counts are essential to control losses during the holiday season.
The quicker you notice that merchandise has gone missing, the more likely an investigation into the loss will be successful. If you need to submit a claim, you'll also make that process smoother by doing it earlier. Keeping good records year-round will prove to be the most helpful. Check out our downloadable inventory recordkeeping guide.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when conducting case counts:
- Vary the times of day when the count is done.
- Have more than one person responsible for conducting the counts to avoid internal theft.
- If it's not possible to monitor every display every day, rotate which ones are observed.
- Review your surveillance footage on a regular basis to make sure the counts are completed, and nothing is missed.
3. An Educated Staff is the Best Defense
Whether a criminal plans on attempting a theft, robbery, or burglary, they are likely to case a jewelry business first.
If you don't practice secure selling procedures, becoming a theft victim isn't out of the question.
The good news is that educating your staff is easy with the help of A Jeweler’s Guide to 24/7 Security.
This online resource is the perfect option for you and your staff to brush up your security skills and make your store a difficult target for criminals to pursue. In turn, this will reduce the likelihood of causing a major disruption to your holiday season or the entire year.
4. Hiring Extra Security Can Go a Long Way
In addition to having a well-educated crew of sales associates, security guards are a wise resource to call upon when customer traffic accelerates.
There are multiple benefits of having a security guard onsite during your busiest days:
- Since associates are constantly balancing sales and security, it can be helpful to have someone focus solely on jewelry store security.
- The presence of a guard can be enough to discourage many thieves from even considering your business as a target.
- If a theft is attempted, the guard will be able to handle the situation in a more effective manner than sales associates alone.
Security after-hours is equally important, especially when it comes to alarm response. Whether it’s once, twice, or 10 times, it’s important that every activated alarm is responded to with the utmost urgency. Be sure to have your alarm company inspect your system on an annual basis to ensure that all its components are working properly.
We know that false alarms can put stress on any security system and cost you time and additional expenses. Jewelers Mutual Group has joined with Securitas, a highly regarded global leader in protective services, to make the Alarm Response Program available to jewelers at an affordable rate with no additional monthly retainer fee.
This program is a small investment in your future safety by taking comfort in knowing security officers are ready and able to respond to any type of security alarm breach, threat or concern.
Here are just a few advantages of the program:
- Reduction of costs associated with law enforcement responding to false alarms.
- The responding officer can frequently handle the routine case of the alarms themselves, saving you time, money and worry.
- 24/7 alarm dispatch capabilities in serviceable locations.
How guard response service works:
- If your alarm is activated, a security officer in your area will be dispatched to your location.
- The responding officer will investigate the area and enact the proper response by contacting your alarm monitoring company and local law enforcement as needed.
- The security officer will complete a report with details of the alarm response and take photos of the protected location.
5. The Likelihood of Grab-and-Run Thefts Increases as the Day Goes On
Criminals committing this type of crime will typically walk into a store, appearing to browse the merchandise. Usually, they’ll move toward the most valuable merchandise on the showroom floor and ask to see a particular piece. From there, they simply run off with whatever they asked to view.
The most recent JSA Annual Crime Report shows a trend that indicates jewelers needs to be more observant during the evening hours:
The tricky part can be staying focused all day long. There's a lot of security procedures to keep in mind to stay safe, and that's on top of all the other business that needs to get done.
The question becomes, how do you prevent grab and run theft?
Ask to see a customer’s ID before allowing the individual to try on merchandise, no matter what its value is. Once you’ve verified that the ID is legitimate, retain it until the customer has returned the piece. Remember to show an item only after you’ve examined the ID, though. Multitasking can be risky because some grab-and-run attempts have featured suspects taking merchandise directly from the hands of sales associates before the ID was deemed legitimate.
Never show more than one piece at a time. If a customer is adamant about comparing pieces side by side, put one on yourself and let the customer compare. Never have more than two pieces out of your showcases at once, as some criminals are bold enough to attempt grab-and-run thefts with entire trays of rings.
Speaking of being bold: many criminals will appear nervous or fidgety before attempting a grab-and-run. Document suspicious incidents like these so if the suspect returns, the rest of your staff will know how to properly react.
Hear from Larry Spicer, Jewelers Mutual Group's vice president of loss prevention and risk management about how to prevent falling victim to a grab-and-run theft. Plus, what to do if it happens to you.
These are just a few things to be aware of ahead of the holidays regarding store security. However, if you’re associates have a strange feeling about a situation, urge them to document it in a suspicious incident log and begin to inform others at your business.
Remember to read through and share with your employees our comprehensive Jeweler Security Guide by clicking the button below.