Professional Jeweler Archive: How to Prevent a Crime

March 2000

For Your Staff/Security

How to Prevent a Crime

Jewelers Mutual’s new video teaches sales associates three time-honored habits to prevent losses

A new video by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. can help you reduce the chance of being duped by a sneak thief or robbed by an armed criminal. The Neenah, WI, insurer has spent years scrutinizing its claims to learn how thefts and robberies occur and how to prevent them. Here are the three habits you should keep.

Habit 1: Meet and Greet

When a customer walks in the door, greet him or her and make immediate eye contact. This makes a potential thief nervous – crooks like to be ignored. He or she may decide your store is too safety-conscious to risk a crime.

If you’re the only sales associate on the floor and you’re already helping a customer, acknowledge the newcomer and say “Someone will be with you soon.” This way, you haven’t revealed you’re alone. If another associate is in the back of the store, you’ve given him or her a cue to come out and help.

Watch the new customer even as you wait on the other. Never turn your back on either customer. This scrutiny could discourage a would-be thief who may be casing the store to see what the security is like.

Before you wait on someone, gather your tools (such as a polishing cloth and display pad) so you don’t have to look for them after you start selling. You’ll never have to take your eyes off your customers.

Habit 2: One-on-One

This habit refers to two practices:

  • Wait on only one customer at a time.
  • Show only one item at a time to one customer.

Thieves often try to distract store employees by working in teams. One engages the salesperson and the other tries to get waited on at the same time. In the confusion, one ends up filching an item or reaching into a showcase. Showing one item at a time to only one customer solves this problem.

If the customer would like to compare items, a common and legitimate request, try one on yourself, use a ring holder or take the customer to a private room.

Habit 3: Turn the Key

Most jewelers make it a strict rule to keep showcases locked at all times – but there’s more to it. Keep your showcase keys on your wrist at all times and place them in a safe when you leave for the day. Never leave a showcase open to go to another part of the store. Relock all showcases as soon as you’ve removed or replaced an item.

If You’re Suspicious

Have your store work out a signal, usually a phrase such as “Have you called Mrs. Smith about her order?” to alert other associates to be on guard if you spot a suspicious person. Keep your eyes on that person and give him or her your full attention. After he or she leaves, record the person’s actions and physical features in a logbook your store should keep on hand.

If a robbery does occur, be safe and never resist. Avoid eye contact. Don’t reach for the hold-up button or alarm when the robber is in the store.

– by Peggy Jo Donahue

Get the Video

Jewelers Mutual’s new video Selling With Security takes the good habits reviewed in this article and shows real-life situations that reinforce why these habits are so important.

Included are a quiz on the information, a wrist holder for showcase keys and a sample showcase card to explain to customers your insurer’s requirement that you show only one item at a time.

The video is free through May 2000 to Jewelers Mutual policyholders and $50 after that date and for non-policyholders.

  • Jewelers Mutual, Neenah, WI; (800) 558-6411,

    – P.J.D.

  • Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications