Secure your business and employees through the demanding peak sales season ahead

For many jewellers, business will pick up steadily throughout the coming month. Stores will be more crowded and operating hours may be extended in order to accommodate shoppers and finish special orders. It’s crucial to not let your security protocols slip now, especially when hours can run long and sales assistants get tired. Here are some ways you can take your safety into your own hands:

General Security tips:

  • Always be alert and vigilant
  • Test all electronic systems and check the store’s cameras to make sure they are working properly.
  • Make some cameras ­obvious (so would-be crooks know they’re being watched) and others concealed. Consider ­having a second recorder or storing the video remotely, so a thief can’t take the device and rob you of evidence as well.
  • Confirm that your security company is receiving signals from your alarm system via all available channels (radio, phone lines etc)
  • Attend to any repairs on perimeter security gates or burglar bars and on all electronic surveillance and alarm systems.
  • Obtain specialist advice before installingtwo locking doors on either side of a vestibule. Armed robbers who are trapped may be more likely to shoot their way out.
  • Use reinforced glassor display cases specially made to resist the force of a smash-and-grab robbery.
  • Install a large one-way mirrorin your store on a wall leading to your back office. Even if there’s nobody watching on the other side, a potential robber won’t be able to tell and may see it as a deterrent.
  • Since you’re probably carrying more inventory to capitalise on holiday sales, be sure to check and comply with your insurance policy’s in-safe/out-of-safe requirements.
  • Height markersalong doorways allow police looking at surveillance footage to determine how tall a robber is.

Opening & Closing Protocols
These duties should be conducted by at least two people. Observe the surroundings of the store on arrival. If a person or car is loitering near the building, or if doors or windows appear open or tampered with, stay out of sight and call police. It’s advisable to do a thorough sweep of the premises to establish an all-clear before all staff enter in the morning, and at night before the store is locked up. Those not engaged in checking the premises should be waiting outside, on alert and ready to call security if a problem arises. Be highly suspicious of ‘customers’ arriving as the store opens or closes. Doors should remain locked while staff set up and only opened when the store is ready to receive customers. After a long day, staff may be tempted to start putting items away before all customers have left the store in an effort to speed up the closing procedure. This is a mistake as lots of merchandise being shifted between safes and showcases is an opportune time for thieves to strike and can give casers valuable information about your procedures. Whether merchandise is in showcase or window displays, the bottom line is that you should still put as much away overnight as possible.

Establish a High-Alert Code Word
A word or phrase that warns of a suspicious situation can be a life-saving addition to your security arsenal. Something as simple as: “that display cabinet needs cleaning” should cue a staff member to secretly contact your security company. You could even have a second phrase that prompts a more serious reaction, for example most staff discretely vacating the premises and perhaps activating a silent panic alarm.

Train and re-train all staff, and deploy them wisely
Make sure that all members of your staff contingent, (seasonal and full-time), have been provided with training on all of your security measures including proper handling of keys, and procedures for showing your merchandise. Even the best screening procedures and background checks don’t guarantee the prevention of internal theft. Allow only your most experienced and trusted employees to handle your high-value items. Your staff schedule should feature an equal mix of these personnel balanced with newer helpers. During high-risk times, the ratio should be heavier on the more trusted employees. Schedule staff breaks at different times so a would-be robber won’t know when the store is likely to be the most lightly staffed.

Beware distraction thefts and smash-and-grabs:
Employees must always lock the showcase after they take out an item, and lock it up after they return the merchandise, especially when stores get busy. Insist on serving one customer at a time, and also consider only showing one item at a time. Train staff to keep customer’s hands in their ­peripheral vision at all times. Distraction thefts are rampant at this time of year. Try not to keep all your highest value items in one display case. If they’re scattered throughout the store, then you won’t lose as much in a smash-and-grab. An extra deterrent should you be willing to implement this practice is to request to see photo identification from the customer. Remind all associates to hold firm if they’re pressured by a customer to bypass these procedures. If they’re overly insistent, be sure to document this as a suspicious incident.

Identify Casing
Some degree of surveillance precedes most crime. Beware of suspicious behaviour like wandering eyes trying to locate your security system components or ‘browsers’ avoiding interaction with your sales staff. Keep a close watch on groups that come in together, especially if they arrive at an odd hour or seem to be signaling or surreptitiously communicating with one another.

If a person is merely acting suspicious but hasn’t (yet) committed a crime, a cellphone can be a powerful deterrent. Have an employee leave the store while dialing a cellphone in plain sight. Or hold your phone in such a way that you could be viewing the screen—or taking a photograph. If the employee going outside can do so in a safe manner, he or she also should note car descriptions and license plate numbers. If customers inquire about an item of particular value that’s not on display—such as a collection of loose diamonds—be aware that they may be watching to see where you keep these items. If their behavior or demeanor seems suspicious, just say you don’t have what they’re looking for.

Knowledge should be shared internally
Update your team on any industry crime trends or suspected casing incidents. Encourage them to trust their instincts and document and report anything that feels ‘off’ including modus operandi, descriptions of suspicious persons or cars (including license plate numbers), and dates and times. These details should be shared with everyone at your business.

In the case of a robbery:
Cooperate. Try not to panic or make sudden movements and potentially threatening gestures. Don’t do anything to challenge the robbers verbally or physically, and avoid eye contact. It is best to have surveillance equipment so that you and your staff are not trying to take mental notes about their appearance, which if noticed may incite a violent reaction. If possible, observe what they touch (cases, doorknobs, etc.) so that you can alert the police to ­possible fingerprint evidence. Once they leave, lock the door behind them, call the police and your security company and don’t touch anything that could contaminate or destroy fingerprints or other valuable evidence. Try to keep witnesses present until the police arrive, or at least get their contact information so police can follow up with them later.

Report and share to the industry as a whole
The JCSA is working closely with the Consumer Goods Council of SA (CGCSA), which in turn, is working with SAPS. They emphasise the importance of reporting all incidents to Puleng Rachidi ( at the CGCSA as soon as possible when incidents take place, as you may be assisting with the prevention of a future robbery. Puleng will not be able to send out a detailed incident alert to member jewellers unless all of the following detail is supplied:

  • Date and time of the incident
  • Store name (suburb, city or town)
  • Modus operandi (a full description of the event)
  • Any injuries or fatalities
  • Type of vehicle used (model, make & colour)
  • Please attach images/footage, if available
  • Indicate whether a case has been opened with SAPS. If so, please provide the case number and SAPS station. (This info will not be circulated in the alert)
  • Indicate whether or not you would like the alert to be sent as anonymous

The festive season is a time of celebration and sharing, but the influx of customers during this demanding period requires vigilance. Taking these precautions will make for a prosperous season and happy holidays.

For the safety of our clients, a reminder that CPM’s opening times to the public are by appointment, and 8am to 4pm (Monday to Thursday) and 8am to 2pm on Fridays. Please also remember to insist on checking orders delivered to you from CPM in front of our driver, but preferably not in your waiting room areas.

CPM wishes you all a peaceful and prosperous festive season!



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