Let’s start with security basics
Developing good business and personal security habits starts with and ends with YOU. The most important component that you must have is the right mindset. Security is a means to an end, what people are actually attempting to accomplish by practicing security is the unspoken end state of Safety. In order to get to safety, you may need to change some pre-conceived notions of what security actually is. We as a society have been conditioned to believe that security is accomplished through “things” rather than personal behavioral choices. In the jewelry business, this is magnified exponentially because it is a tactile industry. Jewelers by their very nature want to be able to put their hands on something, something that they can touch and feel and point to and say ‘This is what makes me safe!” The reality is that you can have all of the latest security gadgets and alarm hardware gizmo’s in the world, but if you continually rely on a thing rather than sound choices, the best gadgetry becomes at best an expensive toy. In reality, the biggest hurdle to implementing good personal and business security is complacency. How many of you know of people or business associates who practice the “It won’t happen to me” security method. It relies on the belief that the odds are in their favor because there are several thousand Jewelers and the odds are that it “WON”T HAPPEN TO ME!” The next most common misstep that We see is that some jewelers rely on a firearm. I often hear “I am very careful and I carry a gun.” without being remotely qualified to use it. Using a firearm without being properly trained can lead to potentially severe criminal and civil liabilities, let alone the emotional scars that you and innocent third parties may have to endure. If you are one of these people or you know of someone who is, ask this very simple question: Would you hire yourself to protect your family and your business? Every jeweler believes that they take precautions. I have spoken with several industry professionals and consistently hear the belief that they never go straight to their destinations. What I find when we perform our risk assessments is that they do in fact stick to patterns that place them at risk. However, my own personal favorite that I often hear is that “I am not carrying live product so no one would want to target me.” You have to understand that the information that you have in your head is just as valuable as your gems. The reality is that Jewelry industry robberies are very seldom a random event. For jewelry criminals it is a simple business transaction. The business equation that they follow is identical to yours; low-cost with high profits equal prime targets. Let me translate: Victims of robberies were chosen for a very specific reason. They were perceived as a soft target and the robbers believed that by choosing the victim there was a high likelihood of success with a low risk of getting caught. It’s not necessarily what you are carrying at any given moment, It is what you have access to especially if you are the store owner/manager! The common denominator in all of the robberies that I have studied was the victims lack of perception that something bad was unfolding in front of them. They missed the telltale “outlier” behaviors that indicated that they were being cased and their daily routines and life patterns had lulled them into a state of complacency and the robbers capitalized on their lack of situational awareness. Inevitably, the most often repeated phrase afterward is: “I can’t believe this happened to me!”.
The reality is that robberies occur at the most inopportune times for a specific reason. You will be attacked or robbed when it is most advantageous for the criminal and least advantageous for you. We firmly believe that every robbery is preventable. With this in mind, lets talk about understanding the ‘Basics” of security. This starts with you and your own level of situational awareness. You are in an industry that attracts Violent Criminals. Those are the facts. You have to accept that this is a part of your business. You cannot “hope” that you will not be targeted for a robbery. Hope is not nor should it ever be a part of your security plan. There is an old adage, ” If it’s important to you, you will take the time and allocate the resources for it”. With tight budgets, Lets look at some cost-effective methods of improving your overall security
1. Have a Plan!
Before you start your day, plan it out. Talk with your staff and review your security plans. Remind everyone that they should start their own personal security plan for the day from the moment they leave the door of their homes until they return at the end of the business day. You must understand that you and you alone are responsible for your personal safety. Seek some kind of formal training. Talk to your employer and seek a quality firm to provide a comprehensive training and security seminars. If your employer does not want to due to budget constraints, remember that at the end of the day, you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and educating yourself and knowing the risks. If you choose to carry a firearm, MAKE SURE YOU GET QUALITY TRAINING. A firearm in and of itself does not equate to good security. A firearm is a “tool”, nothing more, nothing less. A firearm in untrained hands during a violent encounter will make the situation significantly worse and you or an innocent bystander may end up dead . The real weapon is well-trained mind. That point cannot be stressed enough! The best analogy that I can make to drive that point home is to illustrate what makes a great jeweler. The tools that are used to shape a stone or create a piece of jewelry is not what makes great jewelry. It is a person who understands what tool and when to use it that creates the piece, not the tool itself! By using the fundamental security basics outlined below, you dramatically lower your exposure to being a victim of a violent crime. The very nature of your business makes you a prime target for thieves and violent criminals
2. Randomize your day!
The number one reason that Armed Robbers are successful is that their victims were time and place predictable. You may not be able to control certain aspects of your day. Life often dictates certain schedules. However, what you do have direct control of is how you get to your destinations. You choose which route to take, you choose which vehicle you will drive or not drive. This may mean that you must leave 20 minutes earlier to get yo your destination. Do you make unexpected turns? Drive in a safe, but erratic fashion with multiple direction changes?. Ultimately you control the manner of how you get there. Drive a car, take a taxi, Hire a driver or better still, a combination.
3. Don’t tell the world you carry valuables
Don’t tell the world you carry valuables or are associated with the industry unless it is an absolute business necessity. I will say it again to make a point DO NOT TELL THE WORLD YOU ARE CARRYING VALUABLES! I cannot tell you how many times I have watched in amazement as Jewelry Industry professionals disclose who they are and what they do by how they are dressed and what they are carrying. Then at trade shows you will see members who walk out of the showroom floor with their name badges dangling from their necks or jewelry store employees who post who they work for and what they do for a living on social media websites. When you broadcast your Profession either online or wearing your wares without taking significant security measures you might as well walk into a lion’s den dressed in a T-Bone steak suit. The results will inevitably be the same.
4. Keep essential equipment in good working order.
This means that your alarm systems are up to date and adequately protect your business and home. That all of your locking mechanisms and safes are in good working order. That your surveillance cameras are properly placed and lighting systems work and that together, the cameras and lighting act as a deterrent, That your cell phones are always charged and your car is in good working order.
To recap, You must acknowledge that as a jeweler, you are a target for criminal activity, develop a plan and stick to it! Randomize your behavior so that you are a hard target to surveil, Practice good operational security by not telling the world you carry valuables, Make sure your essential equipment is in good working order. Lastly, take a personal inventory of what your security posture truly is. If you don’t like what you find, You are the only one who can change that. Being complacent and hoping that something will not happen because it has not happened yet is not a plan.