Q&A: What's the Best Holiday Security for Jewelry Businesses?
If you don't have questions about how to improve the security at your business, that's not a comforting sign — especially before holiday shopping ramps up.
With technology transforming the world of safes, alarms, surveillance systems, and other essential physical and electronic security features, there's plenty for jewelers to ponder. Couple that with how to improve procedural security by educating staff and there's an abundance to consider.
When it comes to asking questions, jewelers who attended the Holiday Security for Jewelry Businesses webinar shared some thoughts that you may have wondered about, too. So, if you're not sure where to start improving your security, their questions may help get you thinking about potential weaknesses in your current program.
Question: I have a UL approved AA vault with internet radio and wireless radio as backup protection. Both of those alarms are UL-listed, too. Is there anything better?
Answer: Your vault's burglar alarm protection should qualify for line security, which protects the alarm communication path between your store and the alarm monitoring facility. Some systems comply with requirements for standard and encrypted line security while others do not, so be sure to check with your alarm service provider.
Question: What are the best practices to prevent credit card fraud in stores?
Answer: The short answer is that there are many practices that need to be made into standard operating procedure for the purpose of identifying potentially fraudulent situations. Ensuring everyone on your staff is aware of the these procedures should be priority number one for owners and managers. You can also get recommendations from both the Jewelers' Security Alliance (JSA) and Canadian Jewellers Association's Crime Prevention Program (CPP).
Here are three to consider:
- Require a second form of identification to complete credit card transactions
- Compare signatures on credit cards and driver's licenses to make sure they match
- Be wary of customers with out-of-state identification
JSA also regularly updates credit card fraud reports impacting jewelers on their website.
Question: Is there a lot of credit card fraud on internet sales?
Answer: "Card-not-present" fraud (includes telephone, email, etc) is expected to rise with the advent of EMV chip cards in the United States.
Remember, credit card fraud is not something that is normally covered by businessowners policies, so jewelers need to be especially careful with both card-present and card-not-present transactions.
Question: Do you recommend installing fog generating devices to use in the event of a robbery?
Answer: Fog generating technology isn't new. In fact, it's been around for years and is quite popular in Australia and England. However, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) in the United States and Canada have issues with fog generating systems and as a result, they may not be part of (or be powered by) any UL-certified alarm system.
Discharging one of these devices can potentially heighten the degree of danger in a situation that is already tense. The golden rule during a robbery is to not offer resistance and creating a smoky environment could do just that. Plus, if first responders got to the scene while the criminals were still inside, everyone's safety could be put into jeopardy.
For most jewelers, the risk and complexity of the system probably outweighs any benefits that would be received. It's more important to focus on preventative measures that will prevent robbery situations from occurring in the first place.
Question: Are you seeing an increase in violence from criminals when they realize that they can’t break into the showcases any longer?
Answer: That is a very real concern, but an increase in violence has not been recorded in these situations. It is still recommend that jewelers upgrade their showcases and use UL-listed burglary resistant glazing material (BRGM) to harden themselves as a target for crime.
This is a situation that is being watched extremely closely, as things could change.
Question: What about installing audio devices in the event of a burglary?
Answer: The challenge with systems that use microphones as a surveillance measure is that it can be difficult for operators to articulate and discern what they're hearing. The effectiveness of these systems is predicated on skillful operators.
While these systems have been around for awhile, the element of human error leaves something to be desired. Once again, a more effective measure to prevent a burglary or limit your exposure to loss is to have a highly rated UL-listed safe that is equipped with line security and monitored by your alarm service provider. Additionally, putting as much merchandise away in the safe overnight will decrease any incentive for criminals to even attempt a burglary.
Question: Are online surveillance systems recommended and safe to use?
Answer: Streaming services that send surveillance footage directly to your personal devices is an exciting proposition for the future of jewelry store security, but as far as recommendations, the systems are too new to draw any conclusions. Consult with your surveillance system provider about the set up at your business.
Switching to something new right before or during the holiday shopping season isn't recommended.
Question: Can performing random case counts help us prevent or reduce internal theft since our staff wouldn’t know for sure which items or cases we’d be verifying each day?
Answer: Many jewelers insured by Jewelers Mutual have various systems of case counting that they execute during the day and it creates a real discipline for the staff to follow the established procedures for the display of merchandise. If you're staffed well enough, it can be useful during the holidays, too, as you'll become aware of a sneak or distraction theft quicker.
These jewelers also have different teams of people that cross check different cases. It’s a very inexpensive way to provide another layer of protection when it comes to concerns of shrinkage or internal theft issues. It also helps create an environment where everyone feels protected and that they’re not going to be the first suspects in the event something.
Ultimately, it relates back to the importance of creating a culture of honesty and integrity at your business, which is the best way to keep internal theft at bay.
Watch a recording of the Holiday Security for Jewelry Business webinar
Log in to JM University® — an exclusive member benefit to Jewelers Mutual policyholders — to see all of the content covered by David Sexton, Vice President of Loss Prevention at Jewelers Mutual, including:
- Hiring — why it's important to screen, interview, and select applicants to find the best candidate and avoid potential lawsuits
- Staff education — the importance of sharing procedural security advice that everyone needs to know
- Internal theft — how to prevent it and mitigate your liability if a situation occurs
- Security — reviewing elements of your physical and electronic security, such as: safes, showcases, guards, access control systems, surveillance cameras, and alarms
Not enrolled in JM University? Get started today and increase the safety and security at your jewelry business!