Mall Security for Jewelers: How to Prevent Robberies
Due to abundant crowds inside and out, shopping malls seem like a secure place for jewelry stores.
Sure, they may be just as susceptible to various forms of theft as jewelers at other locations, but wouldn’t these high-traffic areas repel criminals and help prevent a robbery? It seems logical to make this assumption, but many high-profile crimes continue to put malls on lock down.
While there's no single reason why malls remain consistent targets for criminal activity, jewelers need to take into account a variety of factors for making their businesses safer for both employees and customers alike.
What is especially alarming about these incidents is that shoppers have confused the sound of smashing showcase glass as gunfire, sending everyone into a panic.
Unfortunately, as situations like these become more widespread, the fear of them happening continues to increase and discourages some from returning to places where they could occur.
To protect your customers and keep them feeling safe, you need to know how to prevent robberies just as much as you need to know how to prevent theft.
Use a qualified security guard
Criminals targeting jewelry businesses have become desensitized to the presence of unarmed guards, as well as guards who are not police officers. That why it's so important to use a uniformed, armed, and active police officer.
Other guards can be effective, too, but this is the best option when it comes to mall security for jewelers.
The cost for a full-time guard can vary widely depending on your location and the level of skill you're looking for, though. If you can’t justify the cost of employing your own, make sure you have a sound relationship with the management company of the mall your business (or businesses) is located in.
Although most malls offer some level of security guards, don’t expect them to be dedicated to patrolling your business alone. Instead, work with them to regularly survey your business and the nearby area.
Make your case by explaining how criminals target and case jewelry businesses. Share with them some procedural security best practices, such as varying the times when they check in and documenting and sharing any suspicious incidents that take place anywhere throughout the mall.
Train employees to recognize suspicious behavior
In addition to security guards documenting and sharing suspicious incidents, each staff member at a jewelry business must be privy to this as well.
First, start by having multiple employees spread throughout the store in a manner to assist customers already shopping and to greet onlookers This will provide exceptional customer service and allow for more chances to notice any situations that appear out of the ordinary. Plus, the presence of engaged employees can help discourage criminals in the first place.
Some behaviors to be on the lookout for are:
- customers asking unusual questions about security features or employee schedules
- customers wearing peculiar clothing to disguise their appearance
- groups of customers entering at once and then dispersing
Optimize surveillance camera placement
Surveillance systems are useful not only for reviewing suspicious incidents and actual crimes that occur, but also for letting criminals know that your business is a hard target.
Having both covert (concealed) and overt cameras is important. Overt cameras will actively discourage criminals, while covert cameras can pick up surveillance that criminals don’t expect.
You can also utilize free security materials that draw extra attention to your electronic security systems, which directly reinforces a high standard of security.
Upgrade your showcase protection
Shoppers often mistake the sound of smashing glass for gunshots during mall robberies. While other types of retailers may be able to utilize tempered glass or safety glass showcases without risk, jewelers need to make the investment in showcases with stronger materials.
Enter burglary resistant glazing material (BRGM).
This laminate has the ability to stop or slow down a smash-and-grab robbery much more effectively than conventional, treated glass can.
Keep in mind that it needs to cover the entire jewelry showcase display — front, top and sides — in order for it to be fully effective. It also needs to be installed by the manufacturer to prevent the showcase glass from popping out of the frame if it’s attacked.
If you’re upgrading your showcase to add BRGM for extra protection, ensure that it passes Underwriters Laboratories testing standards for burglary resisting glazing material and carries a UL or ULC mark.
Put your plan into action
It can be difficult to get into the habit of practicing the procedural aspects of security that will help keep your business safe.
That's why we created JM University for our policyholders. It's the jewelry industry's preeminent online training resource that features educational courses to help you run a well-protected and successful business.
Have your entire staff enroll and prepare them to know how to prevent robberies like the ones that frequently target shopping malls.
This post was originally published in February 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.