September and October is jewellery show season in the US and Asia. This is the time of the year that many people in the jewellery industry take to the skies carrying jewellery with them. This can be one of the most dangerous activities we can do but with a few precautions and a little common sense we can reduce those risks. Always keep in mind that thieves know about the shows and will be looking for easy targets. Don’t be one of those targets.
1. Use Secure Shipping Services
The easiest and safest way to move goods bought at a show is to use a secure shipping service like Brinks or Malca Amit. Most shows will have shipping booths for your convenience. Using a shipping service not only gives you peace of mind, they will also help you deal with customs hassles if you are travelling internationally.
2. Don’t Advertise Your Profession
As soon as you exit a show, before you even walk to your car or grab a taxi to your hotel, take a moment to remove your show credentials and any name badges you might be wearing. This is so simple and obvious yet it constantly amazes me how many people fail this basic precaution. Nothing can make you more of a target than going out for drinks or dinner with your colleagues while wearing a show badge and your store name badge. There have been incidents where a thief will spot a group wearing badges and rob them all at once.
3. Blend in to the Local Environment
You will stand out if you are wearing an expensive suit and tie in a resort or vacation environment. Change into more suitable clothing as soon as possible. For shows in Miami or other tropical destinations, shorts, light slacks and a casual shirt will do. In Tucson, a pair of jeans and a western shirt will have you looking like a local. Remove any obviously expensive personal jewellery.
4. Be Aware of the Perception of Value
Many jewellers will ship high value goods but carry low value or costume jewellery, thinking it is safe. Never let your guard down just because you don’t see the value. To a thief it is all valuable. I know of one case where a salesman was killed for his inventory of cheap 3 dollar watches. The murderer was caught and told the police he thought he had a big score and was surprised to find out he would be in jail for the rest of his life for less than $200 worth of watches.
5. At the Airport
If you must fly with jewellery make sure it is packed in a carry on bag.
NEVER CHECK IT THROUGH! Always have direct contact with your goods. If you need to set your bag down at a ticket counter, keep it between your feet and not to the side or behind you. It is too easy for someone to just walk away with your bag while you are not looking. You will need to temporarily give up your bag at the security checkpoint.
Stay with the bag until it fully enters the x-ray machine and keep an eye on it as it comes out. If security wants to do a deeper inspection, request the inspection be in a private room and not out in the public eye. One the plane, keep the bag under the seat in front of you and not in the overhead. Rest your feet on the bag if you feel like you need a nap.
Travelling is one of the perks of our trade. Follow these tips and use common sense to make your trip safe and enjoyable.