Maintaining Key Security for Jewellers
For a jeweller, key security is tantamount to protecting their livelihood. Whether you are worried about break-ins or employee theft, there are several things that can be done to better protect a jeweller’s keys.
Basic key security and management begins with determining the level of access of every employee. The main considerations that should inform this decision are the risk of employee theft and employee safety.
It is not just about whether or not you can trust the employee you are giving keys to, but also how much risk you are willing to have them take on. When a jeweller is robbed, using violence or the threat of violence, the robbery affects the employees.
Whichever employee can open a safe or the cabinets, is most likely to be confronted with the greatest danger. They need to be trained on how to react and the shop owner should communicate their expectations for key holders.
Master Key Systems
For the sake of the efficiency of a jewellery shop, it may be necessary to reduce the number of keys being used. The answer to this problem is not to use less security variation, but to master key certain locks.
Security can be created that does not diminish the speed and effectiveness of the store’s customer service. There are many security upgrades for jewellers, but this method balances convenience with protection.
Employees with a greater level of access could use one key to open all display cases, where other employees would also have a single key that gave them fewer entry capabilities. Master key systems give jewellers more options in terms of how they want to handle key control.
There does not have to be a heavy key ring, or the need to constantly summon a manager whenever a customer wants to see something.
Types of Keys
The types of keys a jeweller uses are inextricably linked to their vulnerability to theft. A jeweller needs all of the precautions for a high-risk business, but even with great security, poor key control can compromise everything. And a solid key control strategy is incomplete without considering the ease of making key duplicates.
Whether your employees are going to make unauthorised copies, or you fear that someone close to them might try to duplicate important keys, you can protect yourself with patented keys. A patented key needs special key blanks and a unique key machine in order to make copies.
Though there are ways around making unauthorized copies of patented keys, they will require significantly more effort and knowledge than it would take to make a copy of a standard key. Even with “DO NOT DUPLICATE” markings on a key, it is very easy to have a key copied at a hardware store or by a disreputable locksmith.
Even the lock on the back door of your jewellery shop should be irregular in some way. You do not want anyone gaining entry to the shop, back rooms, the display cases, etc, but when you don’t know how many keys are out there, you cannot be confident that any lock is safe.
The more unmonitored access employees have to keys, the less you can trust that the locks you have are secure. For that reason, it may be a good idea to store keys in a safe or vault when the jeweller is not open.
Just be aware that if the safe won’t open, the jeweller might suffer considerably more downtime until the safe can be opened. Wherever you are storing collected keys, make sure it is maintained so there is a diminished risk of it keeping out authorized staff.
Someone will still need to be trusted to open the safe as part of opening the shop, but this will make accountability much simpler to keep track of. If the keys are kept in a safe room, or among the most valuable items, they should be well protected.
A break-in that results in the theft of properly stored keys will likely also result in the theft of all other valuables. When you store keys properly while the shop is closed, the main risk will be employee theft. But this will also be diminished, as the number of suspects will be too few for most to take the risk of getting caught.
The most important part of key security is creating a framework of accountability. With these methods in place, your keys should be secure. As long as your security is strong enough to hold up against destructive entry, everything and everyone in the shop should be safe as well.
Written by Ralph Goodman of United Locksmith.