Private showings have become more common in the jewelry and gem industries during the pandemic. And while they’re a great way to facilitate meaningful connections with clients, jewelers need to be vigilant when it comes to hitting the road with valuables.
The Jeweler’s Security Alliance released a warning this week that three robberies on the road have occurred in the last two months.
In one, a 67-year-old jeweler was sitting in his car in Brooklyn when two suspects approached and demanded he open his trunk. They stole a parcel of jewels and fled within 30 seconds. In another, jewelry salespeople were leaving a hotel in Illinois after a private showing when three masked robbers forcibly took cases of merchandise from them (they made off with $120,000 in jewelry). And in Massachusetts in September, a traveling jewelry salesperson from Florida traveled to Worcester, Mass., and checked into in a hotel. The next morning, while in his room, criminals zip-tied him and stole his jewelry, car keys, and phone.
Here are a few tips for keeping yourself and your inventory safe while traveling:
Do Your Research
Requesting and checking references, asking for identification, and checking reviews online are simple-but-critical steps to making sure you can trust a buyers or seller. As ever, it pays (literally, in this case) to do your research.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
You need to know exactly what’s covered and what isn’t in the event of a scam or theft, so you can react quickly to protect your business. Make sure you’re working with an agent who’s an expert in Jewelers Block policies. He or she will make sure your business has enough insurance coverage to protect your inventory, along with your business personal property.
Plan Your Route
Before even getting into your vehicle, you should have your route planned and share it with your family or business partners. And it’s smart to consistently vary your route so you don’t develop predictable patterns that criminals can track.
Inspect Your Vehicle
Don’t start a drive with jewelry in the trunk until you’ve inspected your vehicle for obvious signs of tampering. Criminals will puncture tires, cut radiator hoses, and catalyze mechanical issues to slow you down so they can commit a robbery as you examine a breakdown in the middle of your route. If you think you’re being followed on the road, use one/all of these evasive driving techniques: drive slowly; change lanes frequently; before stopping, drive around the area to see if any other vehicles follow your abnormal route.
Stay with Your Inventory
Filling up the gas? Pay at the pump. Getting something to eat? Go through the drive-through. A few minutes away from your vehicle is more than enough time for your inventory to be stolen.