New York--The Jewelers Security Alliance has released its 2017 Annual Crime Report, and the 21-page summary shows that while dollar losses in crimes against the jewelry industry were nearly flat, total crime was up.  

According to the report, total losses decreased from $72.4 million in 2016 to $72.1 million in 2017.

Meanwhile, the total number of crimes against the industry were up 12 percent, rising from 1,234 in 2016 to 1,394 last year.

The JSA’s John Kennedy told National Jeweler that the organization is particularly concerned when it sees spikes in certain types of crimes, representing a pattern, of which there were a few in 2017.

According to the JSA, it saw such a large uptick in cybercrime that for the first time ever, it broke the losses out separately. The average dollar loss from this type last year was $1.2 million.

Meanwhile, smash-and-grab robberies were up nearly 15 percent; in 2016, there were 62 and last year, there were 71. It also shows that more than 50 percent of smash-and-grab incidents occurred in mall stores.

In the second half of the year, a half-dozen smash-and-grab robberies hit the Midwest over a period of a little more than a month. The pattern spread to the Northwest, where four jewelry stores in Oregon and Washington were hit.

Grab-and-run thefts also increased 32 percent, from 420 in 2016 to 556 in 2017.  

There were five homicides of jewelers in 2017, compared with six in 2016. There also was a case of the death of a Good Samaritan, data which was unlisted in the years prior, as well as the homicide of a customer.

A 65-year-old customer was shot to death inside a Miami jewelry store in January. That same month, a man who tried to stop a jewelry store robber who was running through the mall was shot and killed.

There were a couple of positive notes in the report as well.

There was a decrease last year in the percentage of robberies in which the robbers displayed a gun—down from 62 percent in 2016 to 50 percent of robberies in 2017—as well as a decrease in violence during robberies—down from 32 percent in 2016 to 28 percent last year.

Off-premise crimes, including traveling salesperson losses, fell to 39 in 2017, representing the lowest total in more than two decades, according to the JSA.

It attributes the continued decline to the “dedicated interest” by law enforcement, especially the FBI working with local law, the reduced number of traveling salespeople due to the changing nature of the industry and greater education and information sharing between the industry and police.

Additionally, when one looks at homicide numbers in terms of a ten-year period, the decade representing 1996 to 2006 saw the homicide of 82 jewelers, while only 42 jewelers were killed from 2007 to 2017, a 50 percent decline.

The JSA said that not only are local law enforcement and the FBI arresting violent gangs quicker and the industry is sharing more information regarding violent gangs, but also that jewelers aren’t resisting robberies as often, with the organization helping raise awareness on all fronts.

Kennedy also said that it’s possible the enforcement of higher penalties for crimes with guns has caused some robbers to turn to other means, like smash-and grab-robberies without guns.

To view the full report, visit JewelersSecurity.org.

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