Saturday, March 30, 2013
As a jeweler I've always had to deal with issues around security. It is simply a part of my job at all times. The entire idea behind creating a secure environment is to have a layered approach, incorporating different security measures, some of them being redundant. A little paranoia is necessary to truly act on the issues of security and in this case it's not a bad thing.
So what can you do at home to create a secure environment for your valuables? Well first of all, you can take some rather simple, basic steps in your daily routines like always closing and locking your windows when you leave the house (for those of you in a high rise this may not be necessary, but for those of you living in 2nd or 3rd floors (especially with easily accessible fire escapes it is still a necessity). You should also make sure you don't ever leave your doors unlocked, even when you are out working in the back yard or running up the street quickly. Criminals look for EASY opportunities to ply their trade and there is nothing they like better than an unlocked door they can slip into.
The next step is to hide or secure your valuables (and these days this would include things like documents that have detailed information about you that could be used for identity theft). Hiding things is better than leaving them out lying around, but trust me, most of the places you would think about hiding your stuff has already been thought of by the bad guys. But the harder it is to find something, and the more things you put up in the way (like locked doors inside your residence), the longer it will take for the thieves and, trust me, they don't want to spend any more time there than they absolutely have to. You can also separate out your better jewelry from the costume stuff and leave the costume stuff more visible, making them either think that is all you have or at least forcing them to look further for the better goods.
A better solution is to get a safe to keep your valuables in. However you need to think about safes. Any small safe that can be picked up and carried out is worthless, as that is exactly what the criminals will do (and then they will open it at their leisure). There are ways to permanently secure safes to beams in the house (many contractors will do built in, hidden safes for a cost) or concrete floors, but if you have a bunch of stuff and it has a high value you really need to consider a safe that is not easily moved to begin with. There are then different levels of safe security as well. Gun safes are usually just about useless as most of their doors can be peeled back with a crowbar. However, when considering safes you have to consider the amount of value, relative to the cost of the safe. If you have one ring worth $1000 to secure and you spend $5000 on a safe it really doesn't make much sense. On the other hand if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of jewelry you really should invest in some decent protection for it. Of course if you have a safe you have to remember to use it properly. I have some customers who have a built in, fairly secure safe, but they would only lock it when they went away for a trip. Consequently, they got robbed when they were out for the day and the safe was open and it was pretty easy at that point for the crooks to know that anything actually in the safe was the valuable stuff. So if you have a safe you need to keep your valuables actually in it and you need to make sure to keep it locked at all times.
You can also get a safe deposit box and keep the more valuable items in there when they are not in use. Admittedly this is a pain in the neck because you have to go and retrieve the stuff and then make sure you put it back, but if you have some very high end pieces that you don't wear often, this minimizes your risk.
So, for starters, keep your doors and windows secured, hide your valuables, preferably in separate, locked areas, and think about a safe and/or a safe deposit box. The next level of security has to do with alarm systems and I think I will deal with that in the next article and then the insurance issue in the following one.
The ring at the top of the page is an 18k yellow gold and platinum men's wedding band with a diamond in it.