Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA) has released its crime statistics for the first six months of 2016 which indicate a continued decline in crime against the diamond, jewelry and watch industry in the United States. Dollar losses decreased from $33.2 million to $30.8 million, and the number of crimes decreased from 562 to 528.
John Kennedy, President of JSA, said of the results, “While violence and large losses still pose a major threat to the industry, the long-time trend of overall losses is still heading down. Improved security measures by jewelers, greater sharing of information on crimes and suspects, and excellent work by the FBI, ATF, and local law enforcement agencies around the country have all contributed to improved results.”
Notable features of the six-month results included 30 smash and grab robberies, and over 40 gunpoint robberies, which provided a majority of the large losses. Violence in these robberies included shootings, pistol whippings, the use of pepper spray, and other violence. There were also 10 cases, an unusually large number, in which burglars used vehicles to break into retail jewelry stores, and 20 cases in which burglars broke in from the roof, side walls or an adjoining business rather than through a window or a door.
JSA received reports of 187 grab and runs in retail jewelry stores, 49 distraction thefts and 36 sneak thefts. Despite the new credit cards with chips, thieves have used stolen cards and counterfeit drivers’ licenses to continue to carry out numerous fraudulent transactions, particularly seeking high end watches.
Finally, off-premises losses, primarily of traveling salespersons, were concentrated in Texas and Southern California, including the homicide of a traveling salesperson in Dallas, TX, who was attacked at a gas station close to the airport.
On a positive note, there were many successful investigations that resulted in indictments and convictions of gang members and criminals in the first half of the year, and in many of these cases JSA had assisted law enforcement. Successful investigations included the arrest of seven gang members who carried out smash and grab robberies in Southern California totaling $6 million over the last two years; the female robber, backed up by three gang members who stayed outside, who carried out six armed robberies totaling $4 million in the South; and the arrest and unsealing of an indictment of three suspects who defrauded over 40 retail jewelry stores through counterfeit documents and false credit applications to obtain high end watches.
Kennedy said that in addition to weekly Email Crime Alerts sent to JSA Members and law enforcement personnel, jewelers can get daily crime alerts on JSA’s website at http://www.jewelerssecurity.org/message_read.php?action=read.