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How Key Control Can Help Jewelry Stores Reduce the Risk of Internal Theft

In 2017, jewelry stores lost $54 million in on-premises crimes. When thinking about on-site crimes, you may picture armed robberies and smash and grabs, but in fact, you could be handing thieves the keys to your inventory. According to the National Retail Security Survey 2017, 30 percent of retail inventory shrinkage is caused by employee theft.

Here are just a few examples from the retail jewelry industry:

  1. An employee stole and pawned $56,000 worth of jewelry from RamZs Emporium. The employee was responsible for organizing the showcases, which gave her full access to the entire inventory.
  2. At a Kay Jewelers store, an employee stole an $8,000 Neil Lane ring and tried reselling it to another jeweler in the area. Fortunately, an employee there recognized that it had come from Kay Jewelers since it still had the tag.
  3. An executive for Tiffany & Co. used her access privileges and knowledge of the store’s inventory auditing procedures to steal over 160 pieces of jewelry.

These stories all illustrate how important it is to keep a verifiable record of who’s accessing your inventory. What steps are you taking to protect your valuable merchandise against insider thefts?

In addition to other security measures, such as security cameras, electronic key control can help secure your inventory and hold employees accountable. To improve your key control practices, follow the tips below.

Heavily Secure Your Most Valuable Items

Some key control systems feature tamper-proof lockers, which can require up to three different modes of authorization and varying levels of access. For instance, to provide the utmost security for expensive pieces, you can require users to obtain both a manager and owner's approval to open a locker containing a high-value item.

Secure Keys That Allow Access to Jewelry

Once you've locked up your jewelry for the night, you need a safe place to keep keys. Electronic key control systems will secure keys behind varying levels of access and will only open after verifying a fingerprint, passcode and/or key fob. The system will create a record of each person who removes a key, along with the date and time. With this audit trail, you’ll lessen the chances of internal theft and will be able to quickly identify the last person to access an item.

Create Access Levels

To protect your jewelry from insider theft, give employees, assistant managers and managers each different levels of access to your key control system. For example, you can restrict employees’ system login privileges to business hours. If someone needs to retrieve a higher-end item from the system, require two employees (preferably with at least one one of those people at management level) to enter their system credentials. You can also choose to be notified by text or email if someone tries to access an item they aren't permitted to access.

By taking advantage of the benefits of electronic key control, you can help reduce your risk of internal theft and lost profits.

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