Jewelry Group Reports Highest Number of Crimes Ever Reported

By Claims Journal staff | June 13, 2023

The number of crimes against jewelers jumped to 2,211 in 2022, the largest number ever recorded, according to an annual crime report by the Jeweler’s Security Alliance.

The total was 31.1% above the 1,687 crimes reported in 2021.

“Crime trends nationally are generally up post Covid,” JSA President John Kennedy said in an email. “However, the reopening of the borders to foreign travel has allowed multiple foreign gangs, especially from Chile, Colombia and Romania, to be very active in the U.S. focusing on the jewelry industry.”

Dollar losses from jewelry crimes jumped 85 percent to $129.4 million in 2022, the highest amount since 2009 when adjusted for inflation, according to the JSA report.

Total crime losses had been on a downward trend in the previous three years, dropping from $115.6 million in 2019 (expressed in 2022 dollars) to $75.7 million in 2021, the report says. The trade organization has compiled crime statistics for more than 20 years based on reports from its members.

The highest crime losses recorded in the previous 20 years was $211.1 million in 2003.

Robberies accounted for $46.5 million of the reported losses in 2022, up from $12.8 million in 2021. Violence occurred in 18.8% of those robberies. A gun was displayed in 27% of the robberies.

The number of robberies increased 37.6%, to 260 from 189 in the prior year. The number of smash-and-grab robberies — where the criminal smashes open a display case — nearly doubled to 169 in 2022 from 85 the year before.

Burglaries accounted for $42.7 million in losses, a 29% increase from the prior year. The total number of burglaries jumped 56.6%, to 484 from 311 in 2021.

Thefts accounted for $21.2 million in losses in 2022, up from $11.2 million in the prior year. There were 1,402 thefts, compared to 1,153 in 2021.

California accounted for 27.3% of the jewelry robberies, up from 21.2% in 2021. The state accounts for only about 12% of the US population, but also has the most jewelry locations and traditionally leads the nation in jewelry crimes, the report says.

Kennedy said crime against jewelers may be returning to more normal levels.

“I do not have a crystal ball, but I think crime in 2023 against the jewelry industry will be at a high level, but perhaps not as high as 2022,” he said. “Different categories of crime may be up, but some categories, such as smash and grab robberies in California, may not reach 2022 levels. Generally, the jewelry industry has seen a long term trend down in losses since the early 1990s. Recent years have been especially favorable except 2022. I do not think that can last.”

The report does contain some good news. The statistics show that crimes against jewelers are generally less deadly than in past decades.

Two people were killed during jewelry robberies in 2022, up from one death in 2021. By comparison, 15 people were killed during jewelry robberies in 1996, 11 in 1997 and 12 in 2002. In the past 10 years, the number of personnel killed in jewelry crimes has ranged from one to six, the report shows.

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