(Brought to you by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group)
Would you feel comfortable running your business without a working alarm system? Regardless of what time of the year that question is asked, the answer should always be, "No!" The holiday season makes it even more important to have optimal physical and electronic security in place to keep your business protected. It's no secret that jewelers hold more inventory during this time of the year, so criminals have even more reason to increase their activity. To optimize your jewelry store security, the focus has often been on improving these six features:
- Safes and vaults
- Access control systems
- Security guards
- Surveillance cameras
But it's late in the year; what if there's no time to install an access control system or update to new showcases or a new safe? Don't fret — there's still plenty of peace of mind you can gain by reviewing your cameras, alarms, and guard presence.
Unlike a new safe, it's not difficult to employ a security guard presence if you don't have one currently.
The first place to start is with your local police department. Given a short turnaround time, the services of an armed, uniformed, and active officer may be more difficult to come by, but it's still worth inquiring because they present the greatest visible deterrent to would-be criminals. If you can't obtain the duties of an active police officer, don't just settle for any security guard service, though. Do you your homework and consider things like:
- When do I need their services the most?
- What is my budget for hiring a guard?
- How does one guard service compare with others?
- Do they meet a standard of professionalism and qualifications that's recognized by my state?
- What experiences have other jewelers had with specific guard services?
You should be reviewing surveillance footage on a regular basis, so the effectiveness of your cameras should already be known. If you're aware of any issues, contact your vendor or another expert in your area to resolve them as soon as possible. Even if you think the cameras are working properly, ask yourself these questions and address any concerns as necessary:
- Are all angles of my property under surveillance, including both the interior and exterior of my business?
- Is the resolution of the cameras high enough for an investigator to use if a crime occurs?
- Are recordings stored properly?
- Are recordings quickly and easily accessible for an investigator to use if a crime occurs?
Even as business booms during the holiday season, don't forget to continue to review your footage and document any suspicious incidents that may have slipped passed your staff during the course of the day.
A properly functioning alarm system may be the most important jewelry store security feature you review before the holidays. Without an adequate alarm, a high-performance safe or vault could still be compromised given enough time. Could you imagine returning to work one morning and have your inventory completely wiped out by a crew of burglars? Crimes like rooftop burglaries are relatively rare, but they are extremely devastating. That's why it's important to do a thorough review of the effective of your alarm, just like you should do with your surveillance cameras. Unfortunately, alarms present complexities that security cameras don't, so it's even more critical to examine them with your alarm service provider. For instance:
- Do you know if the alarm communication path is working as expected?
- Is the level of support you expect to receive if your alarm stops working properly what will actually be provided?
- Is the level of monitoring you expect to receive in the event of an alarm signal what will actually be provided?