The Jewelers' Security Alliance (JSA) has released a list of best practices to consider when reopening jewelry stores. Below are the procedures recommended by JSA.
- While there are a few new security issues presented by COVID-19, basic security principles long promoted by Jewelers' Security Alliance (JSA) will now be more important than ever. Following re-opening there may well be a pent-up explosion of crime at jewelry stores by professional criminals who have had to be inactive, or new criminals, such as financially desperate people and drug addicts.
In these troubled times the JSA advises jewelers to follow these time-proven crime prevention procedures, even as they operate with a reduced staff:
- Don't resist in a robbery.
- Keep all showcases locked except when taking merchandise out or putting it back.
- Show one item at a time.
- Don't bring goods home.
- Look for the red flags to help spot criminals, such as three or more people entering together, nervous behavior and body language, inappropriate clothing for the season and staring up at cameras.
- Put goods away each night in a safe or vault, or at a minimum put low end merchandise in a locked drawer or closet and out of sight.
- Respond to all alarm conditions accompanied by security, alarm or police personnel. A full inspection of the interior and exterior of the premises is necessary.
- Follow opening and closing protocols with two employees.
- Following reopening jewelers should keep the door locked and have an employee or security guard admit a very small number of people at a time. The security guard or employee at the door can also act as a "greeter." A buzzer system may be very helpful, and all customers admitted need to be wearing a mask. In mall locations and locations without a locked door, an employee or security guard should control the entranceway.
- If a jeweler wishes to have a person remove a mask, it needs to be while the person is outside the store. However, there are limitations: various jurisdictions require masks to be worn, and the person can't be asked to remove a mask before any other nearby people are moved away.
- Criminals trying to conceal their identity ordinarily will use more than a surgical mask, and will use hats, hoodies and sunglasses in addition to a mask. Some people at the door may be wearing scarves, bandanas or rolled tee shirts rather than masks. If a jeweler feels someone is trying to conceal their identity, or is not sufficiently protected without a mask, the person shouldn't be admitted to the locked store at all, whether they remove the mask or scarf outside or not.
- Customers should not be asked to remove a mask inside the store, putting the health of the jeweler, employees and customers at risk, or possibly provoking a criminal to become violent.
- Social distancing needs to be maintained inside the store for both employees and customers.
- The installation of a camera focusing on the outside of the store is very useful as a security tool, and will also be helpful in admitting customers to a store.
- If a jeweler has furloughed or permanently laid off employees, the issue of store and showcase keys, alarm codes and safe combinations becomes a security question if the keys and information are in the possession of the former employees. The jeweler may need to make changes to prevent any future misuse.
- Jewelers may wish to shorten or adjust their store hours, especially so they are not the only open business in a given neighborhood.
- If you engage in curbside pickup:
- You need to look out for criminals who may be waiting nearby, probably in cars, and watching your store, putting both the jeweler and the customer at risk.
- Curbside pick-up of repairs or items ordered online or by phone should be paid by credit card before pick-up.
- Two employees should cooperate on the delivery, one surveilling the area and handling the door, while the other goes to the car for delivery.
- Do not have fixed or posted hours for pick-up, which should be by appointment with the car description and license plate number obtained beforehand.
- Customers arranging for curbside pick-up should be told a designated area as close to the front of the store as possible, and visible from inside the store.
- Know the details and limits of your jewelers block insurance coverage when you deliver merchandise outside the store.
- Let your local police know you are re-opening and will be engaging in curbside pick-up so that additional patrols can be made to your location.
- You may need to keep a quantity of various COVID-19 supplies in the store: extra gloves and masks for employees and customers, hand sanitizer, disinfectant for wiping showcases and door handles, and a jewelry-friendly disinfecting product and cloth for wiping jewelry and watches before and after presentations.
Jewelers' Security Alliance offers these initial security recommendations at this unprecedented time, and will be constantly re-evaluating them as the patterns of crime emerge and store reopenings increase. Do not let these difficult financial times cause you to lower your guard regarding security.