The Clarity Blog

Theft Prevention for Jewelers: Warning Signs to Be Aware Of

on Aug 13, 2021 8:14 AM

theft - trojan horse-144298-edited.jpeg

Theft (defined the Jewelers' Security Alliance as the taking of property without force or fear) is like the Trojan Horse of crimes in the jewelry industry.

History buffs know what I'm talking about. The heavily-secured fortress of a jewelry business gets compromised by a small army of savvy thieves disguised as customers.

In essence, state-of-the-art physical and electronic security get neutralized because procedural security fails to meet standards. It may sound far-fetched, but it happens all the time. Theft is the most preventable crime facing the jewelry industry, yet it  continues to lead the way in terms of the number of incidents.

Theft prevention for jewelers starts with knowing these warning signs preceding a crime:

The Obvious Signs


The Not-So-Obvious Signs


Theft Warning Signs: The Obvious

Appearing Nervous or Fidgety

Even professional thieves had to start somewhere. It takes a lot of guts to steal something and it's hard to quell the human nature of rushing adrenaline while being in the hot seat.

A normal customer has no reason to be nervous. They should be excited — they're shopping for jewelry after all! If the associates at your business make customers uncomfortable, you might have problems other than theft prevention.

Pictured: Actual suspects wanted for theft in January 2017 as noted by the Jewelers' Security Alliance.



theft suspects


Using a Cell Phone

Cell phones have become the passive-aggressive way to say "I'm not interested" when a social setting takes a turn for the worst. You can do more than just fake a phone call — you can text no one in particular, check your email for something "important," or just surf the web when you don't want to be bothered.

Criminals know that our society is accustomed to leaving people on their phones alone, so they will use that to their advantage and strike when you've stopped paying attention to them completely.



people using their phones


Entering in a Group and Dispersing in the Store

The typically jewelry shopper is most likely either:

  • on a solo trip to find a gift to surprise a loved one, or
  • a couple deciding on jewelry together.

When groups of people split up in your store, it could be to form a distraction. Make sure there are enough associates available to properly serve each customer and don't feel bad if you have to tell someone to wait.



suspicious customers



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Theft Warning Signs: The Not-So-Obvious

Asking to Compare Items

So what? Wouldn't any logical customer want to look at two hard-to-choose items side-by-side before making their final decision? Sure, but criminals know this tactic is great for increasing their amount of loot because it doesn't distinguish them from a normal customer.

Make it a store policy to show only one item at a time. Regular customers will understand; criminals will have a harder time accepting it.

Couple looking at jewerly


Telling a Story

In order to gain your trust, criminals may fabricate stories in order to get your guard down — the classic Trojan Horse!

These stories may end with a special request that could try to get you to break a store policy (like showing more than one item at a time). Stick to your plan and don't make accomodations, no matter how heartfelt the story may seem.

Remember: there's always a chance merchandise could be stolen until it's paid for.

writing in a notebook


Interested in Everything

Staying on a streak of practicing flawless procedural security is like a manufacturing plant that counts the number of days without an accident — it can't go on forever.

If a potential customer goes from showcase to showcase asking to try everything on, they could just be waiting for you to slip up.

They might tell you that they're a big spender in order to for the potential sale to blind you from practicing good procedures, but this in itself should raise a red flag. If they're bombarding you and you feel prone to making a security mistake, there's no shame in asking for assistance or additional security to stand nearby.


man browsing jewelry



If each theft was as damaging to a jewelry business as the Greeks were to the city of Troy, the lesson would be learned quickly and the outcome probably wouldn't repeat itself.

While theft prevention of jewelers doesn't parallel the fall of empires, it can take a while for all of the associates at your business to be trained to recognize these nuances that precede crime. Kick your theft prevention up a notch and have them complete the Selling with Security course on JM University® today!

Enroll in JM University