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Security Seminar Alerts Trade to Home Invasions, Crime

Jun 19, 2013 4:44 PM   By Ricci Dipshan
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RAPAPORT... The 47th Street Business Improvement District (BID) in Manhattan hosted a “Safety and Security for Jewelry” seminar today to educate jewelers in and around the diamond district on industry-wide crime trends and crime prevention. The seminar included a talk by Scott Guginsky, the vice president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA), and a former New York City Police Sergeant involved in the detective squad on jewelry-related crime.

Guginsky opened the seminar by noting that “last year the JSA logged in around 160 jewelry crimes in our database,” adding that the organization works closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in dealing with these industry-crimes.

An area of jewelry-related crime that has, unfortunately, been growing, said Guginsky, is home invasions. “Last year there were 10 home invasions — all jewelers — compared to only three the year before. Twenty-six percent of off-premise crimes took place at jewelers residences throughout the U.S.”

Guginsky went on to discuss a recent case, where five criminals, who were later apprehended, planted a GPS tracking device on a jeweler’s car to track his movements, before robbing him at his home. “The group responsible for this home invasion used GPS — and that’s not something we have seen much of in the past,” he cautioned.

Guginsky advised jewelers to stay vigilant and not to promote illicit trade in New York’s Diamond District. “A lot of criminals from all around the U.S. come back to 47th Street to sell their stolen goods,” he said, adding that there were often times when criminals would track a jewelers movement throughout the day and hit them when they left their stores.

“Forty-three percent of off-premise crime weren’t traveling salesman, but retailers,” he said, noting that a common tactic used by criminals is sabotaging a victim's car, either by giving it a flat tire, or jamming the engine with a screwdriver, then following that salesman until he has to stop for roadside assistance. Under the guise of good Samaritans, these criminals discreetly steal any merchandise a retailer may have in his car, or worse, take it by force.

“They always go for your right rear tire —  if that is flat, then you should think to yourself, maybe its no coincidence. And If your car is overheating, you should be worried. But don’t pull over — drive on your rim to the nearest police station or a well-lit, crowded area.”

Guginsky also advised jewelers to be cautious with what they put up on social media and their websites, as criminals can access and use all that information, especially posts about the movements of a jeweler, or virtual tour of the store.

“Try to limit what you put up there — be careful, everyone is able to Google everyone else these days.”

When asked about when consignment fraud becomes a crime, Guginsky noted that jewelers would have to prove multiple instances of fraud by the same party, and show a clear trend amongst the instances. “If you’re a victim of memo, consignment fraud, you can do something, if there is a trend, among many businesses. Then its not bad business – it’s a crime.” 
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Tags: 7th Street Business Improvement District, Ricci Dipshan
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