Storing Precious Metals Safely: What You Can Learn from Security Cam Videos
Up until a few years ago, it was difficult to see genuine videos of thieves at work. But now that security cameras are just about everywhere to record activity in public places, homes, and stores, it is easy to watch videos of thefts of all kinds. If you search for “theft” or jewel heist” on YouTube, you will find dozens of actual videos of crimes taking place.
We recently spent a few hours watching videos of thefts taking place and learned some useful lessons about how to securely store valuable items. Who were our teachers? Crooks. Based on what we saw, we think they might be the best teachers of all.
And here are the lessons those crooks taught us.
- Don’t count on locks to protect your valuables - We all like to think that locks provide very good security. But if you watch security camera footage as we did, you have to conclude that although very good locks might provide better security than cheap locks do, but not complete security. In one video we watched, a man who was posing as a customer in a jewelry store was able to instantly open jewelry showcases using what appeared to be some kind of skeleton key that he had concealed in his hand. He silently opened two cases, filled his loose-fitting sweatshirt with watches and jewelry, then closed the cases and walked right out of the store. Incredible. The lesson is, don’t assume that a lock will stop a thief for long.
- Security only works if you use it. This is an important lesson. There are lots of videos on YouTube that show thefts taking place in jewelry stores. In many of them, store employees take trays of jewels out of secure display cases and put them within easy reach of thieves who are posing as customers. Those thieves, in many videos, use simple sleight-of-hand distractions to steal jewelry, literally from under the noses of store employees. If those employees had kept those jewelry trays in the cases and removed only one item at a time, it would have been far more difficult for those crooks to steal anything.
- Distraction is the greatest cause of thefts. Most of the thefts we watched were made possible because the people who were supposed to be protecting valuables were not paying attention. In one video, a store employee gets distracted by his cellphone and a fake “customer” stuffs a handful of rings into her pocket. In another video, a thief is able to help himself to some valuable pieces of crystal simply because nobody is watching. So the message is clear. To protect your valuables, you need to be vigilant.
- Avoid putting valuables in obvious locations. We watched one video of a home theft in which a workman who was in a home opened a dresser drawer in a bedroom and helped himself to some valuables that were there. Then he closed the door and left the room. If the homeowner had simply stored those items in a different location, the theft would probably not have taken place. What a simple form of protection!
- Two crooks can equal trouble. In a classic maneuver we saw on one video recorded in a jewelry store, one woman distracted a store employee while her accomplice easily helped herself to jewelry that had been put on top of a display counter. The message is, don’t be the only person who is displaying or showing valuables to two or more people.
- Time is on a thief’s side. Let’s return to that video we described above - the one that showed a workman stealing from a dresser drawer. Our question to you is, how long do you think it took that homeowner to realize that some valuables had been stolen? Did that homeowner discover the theft that evening, the next day, the next week, or . . . when? The longer it takes to discover a theft, the harder it is to determine who the crook was. So the lesson for your secure storage is, keep an eye on your valuables. If they are so valuable, they are worth protecting, right? Take a look at your valuables often to be sure they are safe. Remember, simple vigilance pays off.
And when you have valuables you want to turn into bright, shiny cash...
Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to speak with precious metals recycling consultants. Now that you’ve protected your gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals, it could be time to turn them into cash.
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