While leaving work for the day an employee of a jewellery store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniawas abducted, beaten and hit with a stun gun while the assailants unsuccessfully demanded the alarm codes and combination to the safe at the store where she works. Full story here.
Once again, this is a reminder that we are in a very dangerous business. People assume that anyone working in a jewellery store, from the owner to the person that sweeps the floor, has access to valuable goods. It is easy to be complacent but we must always be conscious of safety. This is a good time to review your plans and procedures for keeping you, your employees and your family safe.
Safety in numbers
The most dangerous time is opening and closing. You need to be extra vigilant. Ideally, all the staff should arrive near the same time and wait in their cars until there are at least two or three people before going into the store together. At closing everyone should leave as a group. At both times at least one person, preferably more, should have a cell phone out and have the local emergency number (911 in the US) punched in and ready so that a quick press of the send button will summon the police.
Escort staff and salesmen
Anytime a staff member or jewellery salesman enters or leaves your store, they should be watched or escorted. Have them give a quick call before they come in so someone can stand outside and watch. Again, have a pre-dialed cell phone at the ready. When they leave they need to be watched or escorted until they are safely in their car. I knew of one store owner that had an extremely well-trained guard dog that would follow people to their car.
Keep your home life private
Family is our greatest pride and joy but also our greatest weakness. We will do anything for them. As much as we want to brag about our kids and their accomplishments, keep all references to their identity away from your store. Pictures of your family displayed in the showroom give criminals a positive identification of your loved ones. Photos of your kids receiving awards at school posted on social media or even in the local newspaper tell the bad guys where to look for them. Never, ever, publish your home address anywhere.
Don’t be too social
It is easy to get caught up with constantly updating your daily activities on social media. But if everyone knows where you are or will be all the times; you are at risk. Rather than posting about where you are going or the restaurant you are at now, try posting about where you have just been instead. It’s just as much fun but considerably safer.
You are never completely off duty
The jewellery business is rewarding but it comes with a price. We simply can never let our guard down. It only takes a moment of inattention, anywhere or anytime, for something to happen. We need to be cautious and suspicious of everyone and everything that is out of the ordinary. Our lives, the lives of our loved ones, and the lives of our associates depend on it.