Professional Jeweler Archive: Crime and the Lowest Bidder

October 2000


Crime and the Lowest Bidder

Cutting costs on security is a dangerous strategy

In today’s profit-driven economy, the lowest bidder usually gets the contract. You may think this is the best way to cut costs and obtain a needed product without overpaying. Where security is concerned, however, this is rarely true.

Unfortunately, jewelers often neglect security when preparing their annual budgets. At a recent jewelry show, I met with hundreds of exhibitors, most of whom carry jewelry lines on the road. You might think this group would opt for the best security money can buy, considering the recent rash of robberies and homicides against traveling jewelers. In many cases, however, they were staying in inexpensive and less-secure hotels during the show.

Jewelers are more vulnerable than other people when they travel – and in more ways than one. I know of one woman who was accosted in an elevator by three inebriated men at a less-than-top-notch hotel (she escaped unscathed physically). It was only 9 p.m., but hotel security was inadequate and the elevators had no security cameras. This woman faces psychological scars from her employer’s attempt to save $50 per night. There are risks in most low-cost alternatives.

Safety First

Not long ago, a Houston jeweler stayed at his store late one evening to meet a customer after normal business hours. The customer robbed and murdered the jeweler.

Using a security guard could have prevented this tragedy. Statistics show two people in a place of business make it more secure than one. Many insurance companies insist two people occupy a premises at all times. This two-person rule is critical to safety.

A guard is expensive, but consider the alternative: robbery or death. Though all people are at risk from normal “street crime,” jewelers must be more sensitive to their increased risk. Our industry is stalked by highly trained South American gangs, pickpockets, armed robbers and other jewel thieves.

With our penny-pinching ways, it’s no wonder the bad guys are winning. We must be proactive in matters of safety and security. Invest in the best security systems, stay in secure hotels, use armored couriers and join the Jewelers’ Security Alliance in New York City (800-537-0067 or 212-687-0328) to help protect yourself, your staff and your business effectively. The group’s common-sense suggestions may help prevent a robbery or save a life.

With what you know now, how secure does your staff feel knowing your store’s security system was designed and installed by the lowest bidder?

–by Elie Ribacoff

Elie Ribacoff is president of Worldwide Security Systems & Consultants, New York City, a security company specializing in the jewelry industry. You may reach him at (718) 380-0209 or

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications