John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers' Security Alliance, reported at the group's annual luncheon Jan. 13 that criminal attacks against traveling sales representatives are down 47% from 1999. The figures decreased from 334 attacks in 1999 to 179 in 2000. This is the lowest number of losses on the road since the mid-1980s, Kennedy said. Attacks against trunk and remount show personnel also took a slide, from 24 losses in 1999 to only five in 2000.
Kennedy credited the FBI for treating gangs of South American criminals like the organized criminals they are. "They're treating these crime rings like the Mafia," he said. The FBI began assigning agents full time to investigate jewelry crime early last year (see related Professional Jeweler article). Supervisory Special Agent John Walker, the manager of the Jewelry and Gem Program at national FBI headquarters, now coordinates efforts among various field offices, collecting and disseminating data in conjunction with JSA. The FBI drive came after thousands of jewelers lobbied Congress to increase funds to the FBI for this purpose during JSAšs Jewelry Industry Crime Awareness Week in late 1999.
At the JSA luncheon, Walker was given the third annual James B. White Award to Law Enforcement for his successful efforts, which led to many arrests in 2000. The award is named for JSAšs president emeritus.
- by Peggy Jo Donahue