National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Six ways to safeguard your three-day weekend

By David Sexton

June 23, 2014

David Sexton, CPCU, is the vice president of loss prevention consulting at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. He can be reached at 800-558-6411 or

Like anyone, retail jewelers look forward to the occasional three-day weekend, and shutting up shop for a few days can be a great way to rejuvenate. Unfortunately, criminals might also be looking forward to your time away. From their perspective, your extended absence means more time for them to disable your alarm or attack your safes.

1. Be discreet with your vacation plans.
Developing a good social media presence can be great for your business. But make sure your posts don’t provide too much information. Avoid announcements like “We’re closing shop this weekend, so I can attend a wedding in Napa.” Burglars could be reviewing your posts and see this as a special opportunity to strike undetected.

2. Invest in a good alarm system.
At Jewelers Mutual, our recent burglary claims experience would indicate that burglars are becoming more sophisticated in planning their attacks on jewelry stores. These recent attacks go way beyond the traditional smash, grab and runs when criminals break a window, grab what they can and run before anyone can respond to the alarm the attack triggers. Instead, criminals have gained access to jewelry businesses via adjoining unprotected property.

While you certainly can’t control your neighbors’ unprotected property, you may want to take this into consideration when defining the extent of protection for your own jewelry store. Always choose an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified burglar alarm system, which complies with UL’s minimum standards of reliable burglar alarm protection.

3. Don’t ignore the alarm.
The first time and every time you are notified by your alarm company that your burglar alarm has gone off, you will want to conduct a thorough investigation in cooperation with either responding local law enforcement or a dispatched guard from your UL monitoring center.

You are a target burglary risk and cannot afford to think that repeated alarm signals are a malfunction of your burglar alarm unless each signal is thoroughly investigated. Repeated alarms signals can be triggered by burglars to determine who, if anyone, will respond. If you experience multiple “false” alarms, criminals already could be testing your security.

Be cautious every time you respond to a burglar alarm, and always confirm and verify the identity of police or guards who call and ask you to come to your business. Verify that law enforcement or the guard dispatched by your UL monitoring center already is at the business before you arrive, and allow them to conduct a thorough search of your protected premises before you enter.

Perhaps most importantly, before you leave town, establish a call list with your security company that includes the names and telephone numbers of associates who can be notified in the event there is an alarm condition when you are unavailable. Only trusted associates should be placed on the call list, and they should be trained to conduct a thorough investigation of each and every burglar alarm notification in your absence.

4. Safety for your safe
Your burglar-resistant rated safe is the last physical bastion in your jewelry store protection.

Where you position your safe can greatly enhance the physical protection it provides. Whenever possible, avoid placing your safe against an outside wall of your premises or against a shared wall or party wall. Thieves have been known to enter through an adjoining unprotected property, especially a vacant one. They also may enter through crawl spaces above the ceiling or gain unauthorized access through the floor, so carefully consider the placement of motion detection in your protected premises.

Arrange for routine maintenance and service on your safes. Recent losses reported to Jewelers Mutual have involved compromised UL burglary-resistant rated TL-15 and TL-30 safes. The UL burglary-resistant rating of these safes is based on the doors rather than the bodies of these containers.

Consider upgrading to a safe with a higher UL burglary resistance, and make sure that your burglar alarm has the benefit of line security protection so that any attempt to compromise the alarm communication will be immediately detected and treated as an alarm condition.

5. Mum’s the word.
Limit the number of team members who have the combination to the safe, and avoid writing combinations down for fear they could end up in the wrong hands. Whenever an associate who has been entrusted with combinations leaves your employment, consider changing the combination to protect the integrity of the safe.

6. Stop the deliveries.
Whenever you will be closed for any extended period make the necessary arrangements to have your mail delivery held. Contact the United States Postal Service to put a hold on your deliveries, and make similar arrangements with other shipment delivery companies. If you receive a daily newspaper, suspend delivery until your return. Piled-up newspapers or an overflowing mailbox can alert thieves that the store is closed and has been for some time.

Plan well today so you can relax tomorrow. The better you plan today, the greater the chance you will be able to rest and relax the next time you decide to close shop for a  few days. More importantly, you won’t have any terrible surprises when you return back to work. Make sure your next getaway is one you can truly enjoy.

Visit and protect yourself with these and other time-tested loss prevention strategies.

To learn more about insurance coverage options or find an experienced agent in your area, contact Jewelers Mutual at 800-558-6411 or