Jeweler Safety Series, Part I of II: Royal Marine Commando Turned Security Expert Offers 34 Tips to Avoid Physical Crimes

By Jennifer Heebner, Editor in Chief

Considering that crimes against jewelers have risen 31.1% in the past year, according to the Jewelers Security Alliance, now might be a good time to enlist the help of an executive protection and security expert. Enter Greg “Dutchy” Holland, a former Royal Marine Commando and U.S. Federal Task Force officer who’s helped combat physical (and more recently, cyber) crimes for upwards of two decades.

Holland is the force behind HMH Consultants, based in London for 10 years and Houston for five, and a welcome voice of expertise in the Jewelers Helping Jewelers (JHJ) and JHJ Jewelers Crime Alert Network on Facebook.

In those forums, Holland has offered dozens of great tips for jewelers to best protect themselves and staffers. The first step he recommends to safeguarding yourself: education.

“I’m really into preemptive training,” he tells AGTA in a phone interview. “Few do the preemptive work that makes it harder for criminals to strike. Your staff should know what to do should something happen.”

Jeweler Safety Series, Part I of II: Royal Marine Commando Turned Security Expert Offers 34 Tips to Avoid Physical Crimes

He suggests that store owners get a physical assessment of store practices, including proper procedures. For example, his services include secret shopper activity, which reveal weak spots in protocol and staff awareness. “The goal is not to get the staff in trouble but to reveal places for improvement,” he explains. Lighting, alarm code panel inspections, escorting guests around the store, and even earthquake protocols are some of what’s under the microscope. In one such assessment, Holland coaxed a sales associate to show 13 gold chains at once—a risky move. “That was a record,” he says.

The following is a list of some of the many physical security tips he’s shared with JHJ members. To reach him for your own security assessment, email [email protected].

11 Tips for Personal Awareness & Protection Outside the Store
  • Be careful what you share online—don’t advertise where you’re going.
  • Exercise caution when wearing your jewelry or standing out in public; you can become a target for thieves.
  • Park in guarded and/or well-lit garages or hire drivers/escorts from reputable sources.
  • Change cars and hire executive protection firms the minute you feel something is off in transit.
  • If you’re a traveling sales associate, use different entrances and exits to stores.
  • Don’t be “in” your phone—keep your eyes up and alert to your surroundings.
  • Have someone escort you to your vehicle with a phone in hand, ready to call the police if needed.
  • Take a class—enlist a security professional to increase your situational awareness.
  • Do not perform evasive driving techniques unless you’re trained to do so.
  • If you want to carry a firearm, take a course and practice regularly.
  • If you think you’re being followed or watched, drive straight to a police station.
23 Tips for Store Safety & Procedures
  • Ensure your building is well lit on the outside to eliminate places to hide.
  • Remove all items from cases at day’s end and stow them in your safe, hidden from view.
  • Leave a cabinet light on to show that cases are empty.
  • Cover glass cases with shatter proofing such as Plexiglas.
  • Install man traps when possible.
  • Don’t open or close your store alone.
  • Limit the number of shoppers in store.
  • Never leave store doors open when you’re setting up or closing and don’t allow customers in the store while you’re doing either.
  • Don’t sit in your car on your cell phone at day’s end—everyone should leave together and no one alone.
  • Install CCTV to view all entrances and exits, test and adjust all CCTV angles to ensure maximal coverage, and make sure cameras are free of debris like spiderwebs.
  • Periodically check functionality of backup power to ensure CCTV coverage.
  • Ask customers to remove masks, hats, and sunglasses when entering to allow CCTV to capture their faces, telling them they can put them back on after the camera has done its job. (If customers balk, blame your insurance policy!)
  • Position a greeter at your door to ensure the above happens.
  • Be sure utility boxes are padlocked and CCTV covers them.
  • Practice robbery compliance, post-robbery protocols, and conduct drills twice a week.
  • Install panic buttons and train staffers on how and when to use them. Be sure they don’t fear recrimination from using them.
  • Have and practice alarm or code words in store and establish who calls whom. Ensure your alarm signals the police to respond immediately and does not just initiate a call from the alarm company.
  • Don’t respond to an alarm activation alone—the police department should always attend and clear before entry is made.
  • Calculate alarm backup power to last a minimum of 72 hours.
  • Ensure your glass break alarm is retuned if you have the 3mm protective Plexiglas film installed because the frequency instantly changes, rendering the alarm nonfunctional.
  • Offer discounts to local police (with ID) year-round to keep them close to your store.
  • If you carry a weapon, have a sign in store stating that fact to deter amateur thieves. Alternatively, with a firearm in store, ensure your insurance covers death, wounding, and bystander incidents as well as social justice groups coming to the store.
  • Hire off-duty cops for shifts at odd hours.

For other compliance tips, check out the Jewelers Security and Safety Academy from Jewelers Mutual, Jewelers’ Security Alliance, and Underwriters Laboratory.

This is proprietary content for AGTA and may not be reproduced.