Security cranks up to keep Gem Shows safe

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Security cranks up to keep Gem Shows safe

By Craig Smith. CREATED Feb 3, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson Police, and private security are working to defend the big bucks of the annual Gem Show.
There's clearly a lot of value at stake, so extra Police are assigned around the Gem Shows, and a lot of officers use their off duty time to work extra pay jobs keeping the shows secure.

Keeping a high profile is an important strategy here.  The mobile command post is just part of that effort to see and be seen.

Gem shows scattered around Tucson, tend to put tons of high value items, in and around tents that are open most of the day.
That calls for an extra police presence.
TPD assigns officers to the show areas, but many officers are working in their free time. TPD allows them to work this sort of off duty job for extra pay.
Officers may pass through on motorcycles, or wait on stand-by on key roads nearby.
Peter Roth came from New York to buy big display pieces

He says, "I came with 10 Grand in cash and 10 checks.  I'm down to two checks and few Grand."

KGUN reporter Craig Smith asked: "But you still feel okay toting that around?"

With a big display of African items, Paul Wellhauser of Nharo African Arts and Crafts appreciates that he may see the same officers here year after year.

"We get to know their names and they're making sure everything's okay.  There was an issue with a shoplifter last year and Arizona justice took effect." 

Craig Smith asked: "What happened?

Wellhauser says, "A quick arrest and they just bundled off and processing.  And we're happy to see that.  Their eyes were open."

Some of the crime problems are not right at the shows; they have to do with how the vendors move their goods.  That involves trucks and trailers, and there have been cases of thieves simply driving away with an entire load of valuables.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press