"CONDITION ONE" The robbery-prevention in the jewellery business | EN

The sector is alert. Despite all your precautions, the damage is done. The expansion of a security program for the entire sector asks for a profound study of the different risks. In our particular sector such a study deserves specific attention : The presentation of this study not only shows the different prevention methods, who are surely a priority, but also and above all the specific security methods in order to react properly to criminality, because sooner a or later we will he confronted with either little criminality or severe aggression.

In the first place we want to draw your attention to the consequences of these aggressions. How many of our confreres have paid with their lives; how many are traumatized for the rest of their days? Many others have closed their shops or sold their businesses.
For them who have experienced it, it resulted in the worst nightmares. The aggressors are seldom caught, and if they are caught, often by accident, they only gel a very mild punishment or no punishment at all. Today these facts leave us with a feeling of powerlessness. The question is: do jewellers and negotiators in precious stones have to wait until the yare slaughtered like cattle?
The insurance companies are our second nightmare. Have you read your insurance policy properly? Aren't there some clauses who exclude this or that risk? In general this is written in small characters on the back hidden in a text written in a confusing language. Indeed your insurance broker is very friendly and gives you confidence. You have forseen everything until the day of the accident and then your friendly insurance-broker will tell you very boldly: "I warned you that this was not included! Have you forgotten?" or “well, that's normal".
Because the insurance is forced to pay: often caused by a lawsuit, the will dispute the value and haggle over the price like fishwives, which means the lowest possible price. They send experts who are sometimes named "Loss adjuster", and who neither know their job nor the value, but they begin to offer you 30% or 40% of the value. Anyway they try to find a fault so they don't have to pay anything at all. If you are victimized for the second time, the insurance will expel you because you are undesirable, so you have to leave them for another company. Please be aware of the fact that if you have the impression that you can rely on your insurance broker, which means that you are covered against robbery, the risk still exists that your new insurance will not pay you anything, because your insurance-broker has forgotten to stipulate that you have already had some accidents in the past. It is also possible that your broker will take the money of your contribution in his pocket, so that you are not insured at all. So prevention is better than healing.
In this context we have to study the report between the aggressor, the company or the individual. The difficulty lies in the fact that one has to anticipate the tactic of the aggressors. When and how do they operate? The key lies in the activity of the victim. In the jewellery-business the risk is much more important than in other professions. According to statistics the jewellery sector is mentioned as the most risk full businesses, together with the banks and the post offices. The most common risks are the following: Robbery, swindling, hold-up, but there are also cases of dishonest employees. First of all we have to change our attitude. In our profession we always rely on confidence and honesty, but isn't that naive or even a bit irresponsible? The prevention starts with an attitude towards security. We live in a world, which develops more and more violence. Things that were perfectly common 20 years ago are today considered a great risk, for example going for a walk in the evening in certain districts of the city or your own neighbourhood without being accompanied by a Pit-bull or a Doberman or other four footed monsters. Driving a car without bolting the doors. Leaving the house without activating the alarm system ... etc.
In our activity we have to be prepared for a daily risk of robbery, aggression and violence. We have to change our attitude and stay , alert, thinking that we are at any time potential victims. The anticipation of criminality is a good thing. The preparation of a hold-up begins with the study of the environment, for example the location of the exit, abandoned neighbourhoods in the evening, the vicinity of a highway. You will also benefit from the observation of everyone who walks up and down the street where your shop is located, or of a car standing in front of your shop with passengers who look rather suspicious. We certainly don't have to become passive or a fatalistic. Victims with a passive attitude are a criminals dream, and will certainly encourage him to commit another crime. On the other hand, we have to exclude all heroic actions, which can be fatal. Security methods can be very sufficient without providing great risk: You must not forget that the aggressor always takes advantage of the act of surprise, which can paralyze you. It is he who decides about the hour and the place of the crime. In spite of our preparations we mustn’t forget that at any time we can become a victim. Therefore we must try to avoid injuries as much as possible; material damage as well as physical injuries. It is sometimes inevitable to avoid severe injuries, but we must try to limit them at any time. In some cases, there are jewellers who are even attacked several times. The aggression according to the law: aggression is an act of robbery with violence with the intimidation of a firearm, a knife or other objects, which are used to injure the victim.
In the United States the statistics concerning aggressions give us the following data: Aggressions are mostly found in cities with more than 250000 citizens. Two out of three crimes are committed with the help of a weapon. Two out of three crimes are committed with the help of side arms or guns. The victims suffer violence in 10% to 50% of the cases. The risk of a being injured by a gun is 1 chance to 7, on the contrary it is 1 to 4 with the help of a side arm. In most cases aggression is committed in the street, at night, on Fridays, in the weekend and especially in wintertime. In many cases criminal acts are accompli shed by 2 or even more aggressors. According to the statistics of ISTAT in Italy, Europe has a percentage of aggression of more than 86% on the jewellers, wholesalers and representatives. 73% are armed and burglary in 17% of the cases. These figures are worth thinking, about.
Three different types of criminals are known:
l) The professional who carefully studies his victim before operating. In general he is armed and he often works with a partner, who has to distract or attack. He can also approach you as a perfect gentleman, pretending that he is a potential client. While the first one distracts the attention of your employees, the other one commits the robbery.
2) The opportunist who choses a victim for his vulnerability and who is pleased with a little bit of money or a piece of jewellery.
3) The kleptomaniac is never armed, but he becomes dangerous when he is trapped.
The most important thing is to avoid injuries as, much as possible, or even worse being killed by a aggression. Also we can possess efficient methods, which decrease the risk and will help the reconstruction of the aggression later. We mustn’t allow violence to put your life, the life of your colleagues or your clients in danger. The situation were a jeweller boldly takes his gun and shoots his agressor is very exceptional and asks of the jeweller an intensive training and self control.
Criminals are in general recidivists who use any gun they can buy on the market for a very low price, like a Kalashnikov. Beforehand they study the situation carefully, especially the timetables and the escape routes. The presence of a police-station or a pedestrian area near by form severe obstacles for criminals. A robbery often takes place at the time the shop opens or closes, or when the safe opens. In this particular situation the risk of being violated is very big. According to statistics, the average time needed for such an operation is 1 minute and a half. In order to operate as quickly as possible the criminal uses all the aggression needed. Operation: In general the professional looks like a perfect gentleman, he is polite and interested and he tries to build up some confidence. He is disguised, wears glasses, dyes his hair, he wears a moustache and sometimes swells his cheeks. He puts soles under his shoes to look taller, he changes his accent and sometimes he puts a pillow under his vest to look bigger. He disguises himself so the victim can’t recognize him, not even when he is taken by the video camera. He is very relaxed and asks to see the most exquisite pieces in order to make his choice; he prefers jewels set with diamonds and precious stones. When there are few customers in the shop that is the moment when he shows his gun. Very quickly he claims as much jewellery and liquid money as possible. It is important to remember that the receiver of the stolen goods only has to pay 20% of their value, because the criminal wants to get rid of the goods as soon as possible. On the opposite the amateur will hide himself from the sight of the street, he is very nervous, sweats and trembles. Be aware of the fact that they aren't less dangerous! They are also in the possession of a gun or a knife, which they will surely use when they start to panic. We can also recognize a thief, because he will move his fingers very quickly, like a pianist, in order to make them flexible just before the theft. As it is a fact that we are confronted with criminality 24 hours a day, we are obliged to study different methods depending on the situation and the profession. The jeweller in his shop, the representative when he is on the road, the wholesaler in his office. You mustn’t rely on the believe that it won't happen to you, it, is better if you think: "When will it happen to me?"
There are 12 commands for the attentive jeweller, but l will propose 17 of them.
l) Always be alert, like little birds are for a cat or other predators.
2) Check if the same person or the same car does not follow you for a while.
3) If you think you are followed, change immediately your direction and go to the nearest by police station or enter a restaurant or a shop to ask for help. A mobilophone is a very helpful instrument, when he works properly, to receive some assistance because you can tell exactly where you are.
4) You have to change the route to your office, shop or house on a regular basis. I'm aware of the fact that such a thing the demands a lot of discipline
5) Avoid a fixed schedule, the hour, the date and even your itinerary, to load and carry your collection or money has to be secret.
6) Transport your goods al ways with a car and never alone.
7) You mustn’t 't do another thing al the same time, for example deliver a jewel at a clients house.
8) Avoid abandoned roads, places who aren’t illuminated or car parks of the highway, and consider before you leave where you can search help (police-station).
9) Always inform your relatives and colleagues about the details of your appointment, so they can alarm, the police when you don’t return on time.
10) When you arrive at your, destination, always observe cars with passengers who look suspicious and who are waiting in the street for no particular reason. Pay attention to people you have already seen a few days before, people, wearing glasses, hats or a scarf before their mouth.
11) When the shops opens in the morning, check if there isn't anyone who tries to enter very quickly through the back- or even the front door.
l2) It is recommended to open the shop always with 2 people, so one can open while the other observes the environment.
13) Always be prepared to press the alarm button, there are alarms on the market which can he activated with your foot. You mustn't take any risk and press the alarm button even when the person only looks suspicious.
14) Pay attention to the first and the last customer, especially he who enters al the last minute.
15) Pay attention to nervous looking people, individuals with a funny voice or people who frequently look behind their back or in the street.
16) Before you close the shop it is advisable ta observe the street and when you remark something odd, alarm immediately the security police. If you don't feel safe anymore, get protection from a guardian.
17) You have to pay even more attention in situations where a lot of people are present, like for example a fair, a party or a market, because a thief can easily steal an object and disappear in the crowd.
The attempt
l) When the aggression takes place during opening time of your shop or in your office don't resist, obey and follow the orders of your aggressor. Don't consider yourself a coward, your safety and that of your colleagues is more important.
2) When they force you to inactivate the alarm system, do it in such a way that the guards will receive a distress signal in order for them to alarm the police. The police will call to ask your code number, when you give them the wrong one, the alarm procedure will be activated.
3) When the criminal enters your shop and threatens you, try to behave calmly and don't move. Don 't give the impression that you want to push the alarm button or try to grab a weapon because when you do, you will start a violent action.
4) If you want to push the alarm button, do it in a discrete way with your knee or your foot. You can also buy a portable alarm the size of a match box.
5) Concentrate on your aggressor, his appearance, clothes, and use of language in order to provide the police with any special identifying traits such, tattoos, scars or any other special marks.
6) When the aggressor wants to leave, let him go, because your life and the life, of your colleagues is more important.
7) When the police enter, lay down flat and don't do anything unnecessary in order to avoid bullets fragments of glass.
8)When the criminal escapes, try to write clown the number plate, the make and colour of the car. But pay attention, the aggressor can still shoot you.
9) After they leave, don't enter the crime scene anymore, because otherwise you will cover up uels which are important for the investigation.
1O) Don' t touch anything before the police arrives because fingerprints, foot-marks or lost objects are very important for the investigation.
11) Tell your story to the police without talking to others. Your first impressions will be compared with that of the other witnesses.
12) Make your inventory calmly. Double check everything before you declare your loss to the "Loss-adjusters", because every mistake you make the y will use as an excuse not to pay you. It is advisable that you take a lawyer for this matter.
Our protection:
Thanks to new technology we have gadgets that can protcet us against the criminals. We are forced to protect ourselves because the authorities are unable to give us the protection we need.
We have 2 types of protection devices available: physical and electronic device. External protections are bars, secured glass, glass with polyester film in between, locks and bullet proof doors and windows. Internal protection consists of a safe and security rooms equipped with a time clock. Lights with infrared detectors, which lighten up when an intruder approaches, is a very simple system to fight small crimes.
Electronic protection:
Today we have at our disposal a varied range of electronic systems, ranging from very simple to very sophisticated. You have to pay attention ta that they are reliable and efficient. Detection can take place by ultrasonic detectors, by equipment, which is sensible for shockwaves, or by magnets placed on doors and windows. There is even very sensitive equipment available which is connected to a central display where the monitor 24 hours on 24 hours if it is a false 4l alarm or a real holdup. Cameras are getting smaller every day and de nowadays only are the size of a cufflink. The alarm buttons can be attached in different places or can be portable with only the size of a lighter to carry in one's pocket. All these objects are connected to a central display, which can be alarmed silently so the police or the guardians are able, do an intervention. A very loud siren will only make the aggressors nervous and will push them into deadly actions.
You have also smoke defence, see www.bandit.be very efficient. A video is an efficient weapon, but the cameras have to be placed strategically and the video may lot be accessible for the intruders so they can't take out the cassette. A visible camera frightens the amateurs but for the professional it is better if you hide a camera in an object like a painting, a statuette or a vase. A combination of all these systems offers the best protection. The English example, which says: "arms invite criminals to use arms". I don't want to discuss this polemic, that's the work of psychologists. criminologists. university professors and above all of politicians. Some countries give the opportunity to people, who have an occupation which involves risks, to protect themselves by carrying a gun, a weapon to give electric shocks, gas or pepper spray.
You can also follow hold up training where you will prepared for this accident and know how to react. We can conclude that there exist different methods to protect ourselves and working under the protection of a security firm can avoid al so many sad things. Prevention is better than cure. This investment will be fortunate on a long term basis. Guards with a professional training can save your life on risky moments, like when you have to visit unknown clients or when you have an exhibition. The aggressors are discouraged, the expenses are deductible and above ail your insurance costs will be reduced.