October 2, 2018
By David Sexton
Recently, a rash of three-minute burglary attacks has hit retail jewellers in Canada. This new wave of incidents involves break-and-enters perpetrated on stores when they are closed to business. The burglars gain unauthorized access, smash showcases, and immediately flee with significant amounts of unsecured and visible jewellery merchandise left out of safes or vaults on display overnight.
These thieves do not waste time trying to compromise a jeweller’s burglar alarm system, as they do not care if their unauthorized entry triggers an ‘alarm condition’ notification to the system’s monitoring facility. They plan to be gone long before anyone can investigate the source of the alarm condition. These are unsophisticated attacks that are not conducted on merchandise secured in safes or vaults.
It is important to remember burglar alarm systems do not stop a burglary in progress—individuals responding in a reliable and timely manner do. However, this type of burglar counts on completing the attack before anyone has time to respond to the alarm, whether the jewellery store’s security includes a dedicated guard response or not. This is why the incidents are referred to as ‘three-minute burglaries’—because, on average, they are committed within three minutes.
When this kind of burglary occurs, in addition to the loss of jewellery merchandise, the jeweller suffers property damage to his or her physical premises. This can include, but is not limited to, show windows and door glass as well as merchandise display showcases. In particular, showcases can be expensive given the critical role they play in the store’s esthetic and the intended design of the showroom.
In the majority of cases, the cost of repairing or replacing this property can far exceed that of the jewellery merchandise stolen. Such damage may also require the store to remain closed for an extended period of time while reconstruction occurs. It is crucial for jewellers to ask themselves whether the risk of such an avoidable loss is worth not taking the appropriate measures to mitigate their exposure.
How can jewellers in Canada effectively reduce their vulnerability to this type of attack on their businesses? A good first step would be carefully considering the following recommendations.
It is also essential to report any suspicious activity you observe to local law enforcement, mall security, your crime prevention network, and industry organizations such as the Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Jewellers Vigilance Canada (JVC). We are all in this together!
David J. Sexton, CPCU, is vice-president of loss prevention consulting at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group in the United States. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Sexton serves on the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Security Systems Council, where he is a corporate member of the insurance category. He also sits on the board of directors for Jewellers Vigilance Canada (JVC) and worked on the Central Station Alarm Association’s (CSAA’s) Insurance Liaison Committee, which assisted in the development of the UL burglar alarm modular certificate program and revised UL standard. Comments and questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For resources regarding safety and security when carrying or working with jewellery, visit JewelersMutual.com. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group is the only company specializing exclusively in jewellery insurance in Canada and the United States. It is licensed in Canada and all 50 states.
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