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1990: Diamond Security Must Include the Latest Security Technology

February 1998

by Miles Z. Epstein and David G. Epstein

Diamonds are a magnet for thieves, and retailers and manufacturers need a belt and suspenders approach to diamond security where a top-notch safe is placed inside a top-notch vault protected by state-of-the-art alarms and detection equipment.

That mouthful is a necessary part of your arsenal against crooks that should be able to signal Underwriters Laboratories-listed central stations to provide professional response.

Good security starts with a TRTL 60×6 safe, capable of withstanding 60 minutes under fire from torch, says Ray Adams, COO of NY-based Mutual Central Alarm Services.

“The idea is to deter and delay the bad guys,” says Adams. There should also be video surveillance inside, and motion detection outside and around the safe/vault area.

A cellular phone can be installed inside the vault so if you are caught inside with the bad guys on the outside, you can call for help. You can also get a custom vault built and hidden in your facility. For information on hidden safes or vaults, contact Custom Security Inc. at (800) 421-7394 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (800) 421-7394      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or Prices range from $600 to $10,000 depending on what you want done. Another security device is the radio transmission alarm, that uses UHF radio frequencies — not phone lines that can be cut — to transmit break-in signals to authorities or security personnel.

Where you put the vault/safe is important too. Adams says you should place the safe in the center of the room away from walls. Robert Frank VP of the Jewelers Security Alliance (JSA) agrees. “YACs (Slavic criminal gangs) are notorious for occupying vacant offices near a jeweler and coming through the wall.”

The latest technology, adds Adams, is a telephone line that can be used to transmit signals from up to eight cameras to a central station anywhere in the world. Through these electronic eyes, experts say you can catch crooks on film if not in the flesh.

What about a good old guard dog? Wouldn’t that stop a bad guy in his tracks? “Having a dog is great but can cause problems with insurance coverage. There’s always a chance the animal will get loose and hurt somebody other than the crook,” says Adams.

Whether you have a pitbull named Fluffy or a motion detector, be aware that every security system can be compromised. Adds JSA’s Frank: “The best systems can delay or deter but cannot deny entry. Firms with high-risk potential should consider using two alarm companies-one for perimeter protection and another for area and object protection. “This will double the protection and hopefully delay crooks long enough for the authorities to respond.”

Even with all the latest technology at your disposal, one fact flies in the face of the best security money can buy: According to JSA statistics, 46 percent of jewelry burglaries in 1994 were committed by “three minute burglars” who don’t care if they set off your alarm. So JSA emphasizes the obvious: Keep your diamonds in the safe or vault.

The criminal mind has changed very little over the years, despite a growing number of thugs who understand electronics. The bad guys still want to take things that don’t belong to them. But for diamond retailers and manufacturers, taking all reasonable precautions still makes sense. The more difficult you make it for crooks, the less likely they are to take your diamonds.


Miles Z. Epstein and David G. Epstein are freelance writers. Miles is a former Associate Editor for American Jewelry Manufacturer magazine.

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