That stunning rise in the price of gold is having a ripple effect: a rash of jewelry store robberies, street muggings and home burglaries. Thats led merchants to step up security and triggered warnings from police: Keep your bling to yourself.
Dont display your gold its so valuable now, said Capt. Mark Olvera, commander of the Los Angeles Police Departments Newton Division. I saw a guy the other day, he had a huge chunk of gold around his neck. He looked like he could take care of himself. But thats a couple thousand dollars he had on him. Youre making yourself a victim.
So far this year, at least 110 people have had gold chains snatched from their necks during street robberies in South Los Angeles, Olvera said. Officers in his division are circulating fliers and showing up at churches and community centers to warn residents to stop wearing gold in public, or at least to tuck it under their clothes.
Its easy money. Its easy to get, and its easy to get that gold fenced. You see all the ads, We buy gold, Olvera said. They sell it, melt it down, and theres no regulation.
Gold ended Monday just shy of a record $1,900 an ounce, nearly double its value two years ago. Thats made simple gold chains, watches and rings worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.