By: David Sexton, CPCU, Vice President of Loss Prevention, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group
Do you read and share crime alerts with your team from the Jewelers’ Security Alliance on a regular basis?
Hopefully you do, because the current wave of smash-and-grab attacks that have occurred over the past several months have gained the attention of the jewelry industry across the United States. We haven’t seen an uptick in this violent criminal activity since 2016.
Due to the possibility of these crimes continuing to occur with the regularity they have adopted since the beginning of 2018, it’s now more important than ever to evaluate your procedural and physical security.
To help mitigate your risk of a smash-and-grab robbery, here are a few proactive security measures to consider:
· Hire a uniformed, armed, off-duty (active or retired) police officer as a security guard if your local law enforcement allows you to do so.
· Evaluate the relative impact-resistance of your showcase display fixtures and glazing materials to determine if it makes sense to enhance them.
· Distribute your high-value merchandise between any number of showcases.
· Make sure your surveillance system can provide adequate recording coverage of your premises to provide high-quality images that law enforcement can use in their investigation if a crime occurs.
· Only if it makes sense in the context of your business, consider installing an access control system to manage entries into your premises.
These measures are designed to help mitigate your chances of becoming a victim of a robbery. However, they cannot eliminate the possibility that one will occur, so you need to be prepared at all times. Your safety as well as your associates, and any customers in the store at the time of an armed attack depends on what you do and how you respond!
The following advice has been shared for many years and is offered again for your careful consideration because of how important it is. Everyone needs to be aligned for security procedures to be effective, so be sure to share this with your employees, too.
Don’t Resist During the Robbery
Statistically, your best strategy in these potentially deadly situations is to not resist, despite how frighteningly these confrontations can unfold. Armed robbers use intimidation to control the situation, do not challenge this control. Try to remain calm and set an example for other associates and customers who may be in the store at the time of the event. Comply and cooperate with the robber’s instructions. Modeling a response behavior that conveys cooperation and compliance with the robber’s instructions is statistically your best chance of remaining unharmed.
After the Robbery
As soon as you are sure the robbers have fled your store, make sure all access doors to the store are immediately locked so that the robbers cannot return. DO NOT pursue or chase armed robbers from your store. Apply first aid to anyone who have been injured during the attack and report the crime to local law enforcement, and notify your insurance agent or broker to report the loss. It’s also important to protect any scene evidence until local law enforcement has arrived and begins their investigation. Cooperating with police investigators to the best of your ability can aid in their apprehension of the robbers and the recovery of stolen merchandise.
Educate Your Staff
Everyone on your team must be prepared for the possibility of an armed smash-and-grab robbery. This preparation could help minimize the trauma that could otherwise result should an associate be unprepared for this traumatic event. Although it is true you cannot control how a customer will react in the event of an armed robbery, you can work with your team to be prepared to respond in a manner that sets an appropriate example for how your customers should comport themselves should an armed robbery event unfold.
Remember, some degree of criminal surveillance precedes every armed robbery, so it is important that your team understands the warning signs of robbers casing your business. Signs of suspicious incidents — like individuals appearing nervous or asking unusual questions — remember to always stress the importance of documenting and sharing these incidents in a suspicious incident log.
Also, make sure this intelligence is shared with your local law enforcement, as well as other local jewelers in your crime prevention network. Remind these other jewelers to also share their information with you.
It’s imperative to not forget that the potential for armed smash-and-grab robberies at retail jewelry stores is real and the potential risk is always present.
For more information on Jewelers Mutual Insure Group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.