By Michelle Graff
Houston--The Jewelers’ Security Alliance has issued an alert for traveling jewelry salespeople visiting the Lone Star State following a wave of robberies in the Dallas and Houston areas this year.

The JSA said Friday that the latest incident happened on Oct. 26 when a New York-based diamond dealer was making his final sales call of the day along Westheimer Road in Houston at about 4 p.m.

As he parked and was about to exit the car, a male suspect allegedly came up, opened his car door, showed a gun and took his goods. The victim saw three or four suspects in all, all described as Hispanic males, the JSA said.

This is the 12th crime against a traveling jewelry salesperson in the Dallas and Houston areas this year, more than twice as many in any other state total in 2015.

Six of the crimes occurred in Houston and the other half-dozen in Dallas, the JSA said. Eleven were robberies while the 12th was a theft from an unattended automobile. 

The JSA offered the following tips for carrying jewelry off-premises.

1. Never resist in a robbery. Several of the victims in these Texas cases were punched, kicked, stabbed, tackled or knocked to the ground. As the JSA put it, “Your line is not worth your life.”

2. Take evasive driving action and be observant. Drive very slowly, drive around the block, make U-turns, pull into a bank or fast-food parking lot, and pay attention. The JSA said traveling salespeople should ask themselves, “Are one or more cars following me?” Traveling salespeople also should be aware that gangs may be using multiple vehicles.

3. Get in, get out and move on. Park as close to the main entrance to the store as possible; do not enter or exit through a rear or secluded entrance. Do not remain seated in a parked car for any length of time before or after sales calls. 

4. Do not leave goods in an unattended vehicle, even for a minute. It’s an easy target for gangs and often means there’ll be no insurance coverage if there is a theft.

5. Those who do believe they are being followed should call 911. If possible, make that call obvious to the suspicious persons. The JSA said when criminals see a potential victim using his or her cell phone, they are less likely to pursue because they think the police might have been called.

6. Car trouble could mean targeting. Those experiencing trouble with the trunk, door lock, ignition key, radiator or tires or who get bumped by another car should consider themselves a crime target and get to a place of safety. Also, the JSA said salespeople should inspect under their vehicles from time to time because gangs have been known to place GPS devices on salespeople’s cars.

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