Security in Ireland

Hello All, I am back from Ireland. I have been visiting many
jewellers. I saw interesting things and had many good conversations,
but there was one topic which I did not address because I did not
want to make people feel uncomfortable by asking to discuss matters
of security with a stranger. I know that Ireland is basically a very
safe country but still. Most of the time (outside Dublin, and
according to good Irish habit - the good Irish weather helps too)
the door is open and there is (of course) no police or other
personnel around. There are no cameras either. I visited a couple of
jewellers in Dublin too. Sometimes you have to ring a bell before
getting in. Someone looks at you and then unlocks the door. I am not
a paranoid type of person either, but we have the plan of opening a
store in Ireland ourselves before the end of the year. I do not
understand the rationale (if any) behind the ring-the-bell-first
system as I think that criminals can look pretty decent. Or perhaps I
got filmed, but I am not aware of this. An other question concerns
the glass of the windows (and door). Would anyone be so kind to give
me a bit of as to how I can protect my jewellery decently
well without getting into all sorts of high-tech equipment?
Information on insurances would be highly appreciated too. How can I
approach these problems in the best way? Thank you for reading and
with best regards. I missed Ganoksin, Will

The first thing I noticed when I made my first forays into the
jewelery district in Toronto was the fact that there are at least 2
barriers between the jeweler and the prospective client: an outer
door with a double lock and a doorbell then an inner door also with
a lock on it. Both inner and outer locks are unlocked electronically
and monitored by camera. I imagine that it is more than jewelery
that people want to protect: themselves, their tools, other people
on the premises and even their designs. I was also very aware of the
stone-facedness of the jewelers themselves: an opaqueness of
expression. Maybe this happens in any business where the philosophy
is money is everything yet nothing at all. I know the desperation
that would-be criminals harbour and I totally endorse these attempts
at security. It would be wonderful to live in an open-door society
but this isn’t going to happen in the near future.

Will, In any country, bells with locked doors, act as a deterrent.
It does allow you to choose who you let in, which can help even if a
criminal can look ordinary most of the time. It also lets any
criminals know that you are serious about security, plus they don’t
know if the door has to be buzzed to get out as well which means that
they can’t be assured of a quick getaway. It also allows you to
prevent people from coming in before or after closing hours (when
most robberies occur).

Security should be approached, in general, as a multi layered task.
You need to review the area you are in for risks first. Then you
need to decide what steps are most appropriate for you. You need to
start with the outside of your building and determine all possible
entry points. You need to look inside the storefront and determine
what possible weak points there are inside as well.

Usually you should have all of the following:

  1. a well rated safe large enough not to be able to be picked up and
    moved without significant equipment. The safe, ideally, should have
    a TRTL30x6 rating. This means that it will take at least 30 minutes
    for someone to drill a hole through one side of the safe. It should
    also be equipped with relocking devices on the door. (As normal
    maintenance you should have the combination changed anytime you
    change employees or every 1-2 years when you have it checked by a
    safe company.)

  2. an alarm that protects your windows, any and all doors, your safe,
    and has motion detectors for every room in your shop at a minimum.
    In this country it is best to have a UL rated alarm, but I am not
    sure what the equivalent is in Ireland. The alarm should be
    connected in some direct fashion to the alarm company (most police
    stations no longer allow you to connect directly to them) and should
    have a backup connection. In other words if your connection to the
    alarm company runs through the phone line you should have a back up
    radio transmitter attached as well.

  3. panic buttons in the event of an emergency (usually part of the
    alarm system).

  4. you need to make it a point to exercise care and caution in all of
    your daily activities including but not limited to: always opening
    and closing the store with at least two people present, always
    checking for suspicious activity around your store and your home, not
    allowing customers into your shop at inappropriate times, not
    allowing customers into your work areas, etc.

  5. It doesn’t hurt to have a big dog, even if they are not attack

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Hi Will,

Firstly may I wish you all the best in your upcoming plans to open a
retail outlet in Ireland and secondly I hope the following will be
helpful to you.

The bell issue is one that is usually forced on you by the Insurance
Company as part of their requirements, you usually have to buzz the
customer in and buzz them out when they are leaving, it is an
inconvenience for both parties but as with all security systems it is
there as a deterrent and as for the cameras they are usually another
stipulation of the insurer, they now want lots of cameras and a
multiplexer and time lapse 24hr video.

    An other question concerns the glass of the windows (and door).
Would anyone be so kind to give me a bit of as to how I
can protect my jewellery decently well without getting into all
sorts of high-tech equipment? 

Your insurance company will be the deciding factor on this, They
will give you the minimum they will require based on the value of
stock that you intend to place in the window, both the highest valued
single item and the total window stock value are taken into
consideration. There is a point where you would have to move from 6mm
plate glass to 11mm, would your window frame be able to cope with the
extra weight/stress, would you be allowed to change the shop front?

Information on insurances would be highly appreciated too.

There are few companies offering policies to Jewellers in Ireland,
most are UK based and are underwritten by Lloyds of London. The most
common would be Nicholson White & Co. and
T.H. March,

Insurance in general in Ireland is going through a bad time at the
moment, last year my stock insurance went up 10% but my public
liability went up 383% and this is with never having made a claim!!!
Next review is in October and I am expecting another increase. But
it’s not just on businesses, motor insurance has gone up as has
health insurance.

Hope this is of help,
Neil KilBane.

Though not personally in the fine jewelry business, I’ve been in
lots of fine jewelry stores and wholesale showrooms. Regarding
security, certainly cameras inside and outside the store would deter
lots of people from attempting anything. However, I would think that
the “double door system” would be a good deterent.

In this system anyone entering or exiting the store has to go
through two doors. Leaving the store, they open and walk through the
first door, and it has to shut and lock behind them before the
employees (still inside the store) are able to hit a buzzer and
unlock the second door which leads outside.

However, no system is perfect or foulproof–thus the reason for
adequate insurance (if you can afford it . . .).

On a similar note, a fine jewelry mart (many retailers located
within the same large showroom) here in Ft. Lauderdale was recently
hit by a group of professionals. Apparently the pros first broke into
the restaurant next door, cut through the common wall, cut the phone
lines, disabled the alarms, etc., and took only the good stuff.
Bastards . . .

Any of you see the movie out recently “The Italian Job”?


William, It is not unusual in Portland, Oregon, USA to have small
designer or specialty jewelry stores use the ring-the- bell system. I
really like it!

When I first encountered it, it was an odd feeling,and NOTHING like
visiting the local big players in high-end jewelry, or the run of the
mill mall store. Nor, do many of the small family stores do it, But
it does have a purpose, security. And after having seen several
jewelers robbed by violent professionals, it seems very wise for
these jewelers to do this.

Customers are somewhat impressed and the employees know that they
have some measure of security, even if they are there alone, (a very
dangerous practice in most situations).

Good luck in Ireland! Sounds wonderful!


Dear Mister KilBane, Thank you very much for your informative answer.
I really appreciate.

I would have loved to make it to Longford - I read in a tourist
guide that Longford tries to profilate itself as goldsmith country -
but we didn’t have enough time. We went to Waterford first (for work)
and then drove up to Donegal (where my wife has relatives).

Your news about insurances worries me as I didn’t pay enough
attention to it. I didn’t especially look for it, but I think that I
saw quite a couple of jewellers which don’t seem to have any security
system - maybe this is playing with fire, I don’t know. Well, we will
see. My wife still has interviews to do, but I think it will be
Waterford. Not such a bad place, although I loved Tory island :-).

With best regards,
Will Denayer

I finally HAD to jump in on this discussion. I agreee that a “double
door” system where the door to your shop will not open until the
customer is past a first door is a high security way to operate. It is
also ILLEGAL (in Los Angeles, for fire safety reasons.) Before you
install something like this, it would be wise to find out the laws
in YOUR area. David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings