Report: Crimes against US jewelers on the rise

Industry official says organized gangs to blame


According to a report issued by the Jewelers’ Security Alliance this week, crimes against U.S. jewelers increased by more than 16 percent in 2008, resulting in $103.5 million in total losses. The alliance also reported a sharp increase in “grab and run’ type robberies, which were reportedly up by 49 percent in 2008.

Despite deteriorating economic conditions over the past year, John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, says that the economy is not to blame for the increase.

"The popular wisdom is that crime will rise when economic times are tough, however history has shown that the incidence of crime against the jewelry industry is more complicated than that. It is extraordinarily rare, for example, for someone who has lost their job or had their house foreclosed to commit an armed robbery of a jewelry store," Kennedy said in a prepared statement. "Almost all major crimes against the jewelry industry, including armed robberies, safe burglaries and attacks on traveling salespersons are committed by organized professional gangs that are not motivated by changes in the economy. The number of these crimes fluctuates yearly, but the totals over many years do not show a close correlation with economic conditions."

On a positive note, however, the number of jewelers killed during robberies has dramatically dropped over the last 10 years, with only two being killed last year.