By John Lamont
“Blame doesn’t empower you. It keeps you stuck in a place you don’t want to be because you don’t want to make the temporary, but painful decision, to be responsible for the outcome…”–Shannon L. Alder.
As business owners, if you give someone the opportunity to steal, they will. Preventative measures are not usually the first to blame when a crime happens. Often, I hear people say that the police weren’t willing to do anything or that they didn’t care, yet when I ask what security equipment they have, it’s little to none. If one relies on an alarm to protect their business from armed robberies, smash and grabs, or grab and runs, they could very well be making themselves a target. With no camera, high-security locks, high-security glass, or loss prevention policies, how can we blame the police for not doing more, when business owners won’t either?
Any person involved in the jewellery industry is a potential target for criminals. While many people believe that the police are the first line of defense against criminal activity, it’s actually you.
Security measures must be layered in your store. At the same time, you don’t want to create an unpleasant and hostile environment for the honest customers that come in to the store.
Criminals are well aware that they have a limited amount of time to commit an armed robbery before police arrive. Proper security equipment in your place of business can slow down the criminal’s access to your product (security glass and key retention locks, as an example). Proper training of staff on how to behave during a robbery also can help to protect them and reduce liability.
In an attempted smash and grab in Ottawa, the jeweller had installed laminate glass on their showcases, which also had a clear security film—similar to polygon on the glass. Two would-be thieves came into the store masked and wearing parkas. They walked up to the diamond solitaire case and attempted to smash the glass with a crowbar. The glass cracked, but the security film held it in place. The thieves then gave up and ran from the store. It cost a few hundred dollars to replace the glass, but the merchandise was safe. If the jeweller had also advertised the high-security glass with a small sign somewhere on the case, the bandits would have seen it and perhaps, just perhaps, not attempted the theft.
There was a time when security cameras were offensive to customers. However, in this day and age, the majority of honest law-abiding citizens do not even notice them, but the criminals do.
Security equipment doesn’t need to be top-of-the-line or extremely expensive. A low-resolution camera that is properly placed and unobstructed by signs or displays can give a good, identifiable picture of an individual who committed a crime on your premise. Sharing these pictures with other jewellers or within your own network can help prevent further crimes and assist in prosecution. I have seen many cases where victims and witnesses did not have to attend court because the bandit plead guilty after a good picture was presented as part of the Crown’s evidence.
Each jeweller should consult with police first to ensure they do not have any objection to sharing the picture, and to make sure it is not a violation of the Provincial Privacy Act.
The Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company website is an excellent source of information on how to protect yourself and your business. Jewellers Vigilance Canada’s crime web page at www.jewellerycrimecanada.ca is also a good source of information for crime prevention.