Though fewer locations are being robbed, the value of the stolen goods has increased.
Across the United States, jewelry thefts are down in terms of the number of stores and homes that have been targeted, but at the same time, the overall value of what has been stolen has risen significantly.
This trend is worrying law enforcement officials, such as the FBI.
Data from the FBI shows that precious metals and jewelry thefts rose nationally by 51 percent from the years 2005 through 2010, to reach $1.56 billion per year. During that same period of time, the Jewelers’ Security Alliance stated that the losses from jewelers had fallen by 54.1 percent, to reach $83.3 million.
Jewelry thefts from the stores themselves have always been considered to be a small portion of the total crimes.
Among crimes relating to gems and precious metals, the goods stolen from stores fell to 5.3 percent of the total in that sector, in 2010 (the last complete year from which statistics are available). The FBI said that in that year, the precious metals and jewelry thefts made up 11.7 percent of the overall $13.2 billion in stolen property from across the United States.
This value was up from 2005, when it made up only 7.8 percent of the total for stolen property.
According to the Mid-America Jewelers Association executive director, Adriana Sfalcin, jewelers have been boosting their security levels as their insurance companies have requested that they make greater efforts to prevent robberies. Many insurers are now requiring jewelers to keep a minimum of 80 percent of their merchandise locked within store vaults overnight.
Sfalcin explained that “That’s the cost of doing business these days.” She added that “The insurance companies want to prevent the smash-and-grab jobs, where people are breaking into your store.” She also stated that when thieves discover that there isn’t as much available to be taken during a break in, they will choose not to try those locations anymore. Sfalcin also mentioned that jewelry thefts have received a great deal more attention at trade shows and in industry publications over the last few years.