A Regina jewelry store owner is highlighting the need for security after her business was recently broken into and robbed.
Jasmine Gemmell is the owner of Bellezza Moda, a jewelry and beauty boutique.
Started 10 years ago with a vision, Gemmell’s brand now includes three locations and a range of services from jewelry to piercings to tattoos.
“I love watching people grow,” she told CTV News. “Seeing them grow and evolve and how their style changes and be able to adapt to those different things.”
In the early morning hours of Sept. 22, Bellezza Moda’s location in east Regina was broken into.
One of the business’s glass front doors was shattered and nearly half of the jewelry cabinets were ransacked.
The experience was a jarring one for Gemmell.
“I’ve been very fortunate up to this point to never have any major theft,” she explained. “I’ve had a few things small – stolen here and there – but fortunately every time we’ve got them back.”
“So truly this is our first like really big blow and, unfortunately it was drastic,” she added.
Fortunately for Gemmell, insurance covered the damages, allowing her store to reopen fairly quickly. Without that protection – the situation would’ve been dire.
“If insurance wasn’t in the picture, I definitely would have to close my doors,” she said.
The break-in also led to some safety concerns for Gemmell’s staff in the immediate aftermath.
“It’s been a little stressful for myself and my coworkers because truly anytime [a] person comes in matching the description of the suspect, we all get like heart palpitations because we’re stressed, we’re on edge,” she explained.
Jasmine Gemmell, owner of Bellezza Moda, in front of her business in east Regina. (David Prisciak/CTV News)
According to the Regina Police Service (RPS), a 46-year-old man was arrested on Sept. 25 in connection to the break-in.
The accused faces two charges in connection to the incident.
PROPERTY CRIME INCREASE
According to the latest report from Regina’s Board of Police Commissioners, crimes against property have increased 10.5 per cent as compared to August of 2022.
Crimes against the person and crimes against property have a combined year to date increase of 13.3 per cent in Regina.
The increase equates to 803 incidents more than 2022.
In contrast to 2022, there’s been an increase of 430 incidents of theft under $5,000 (12.6 per cent) and an increase of 279 incidents of mischief/wilful damage (19.3 per cent).
RPS says it hasn’t seen an increase in business break-ins around Bellezza Moda’s location in east Regina.
Gemmell said the incidents she’s aware of seem constant.
“I haven’t really noticed an increase but there is a consistency,” she said, referencing one local restaurant that experienced perpetual break-ins.
“As a small business owner, it’s truly your possessions that are being taken … its definitely huge to a small business when literally half of your stock from a store is just gone.”
Moving forward, Gemmell said her staff is looking for ways to improve their safety, taking suggestions from police and the public alike.
“A couple other jewelry businesses in the city have bars on the windows … we had a couple other suggestions from police officers in the past just about keeping everything underneath the cabinets as opposed to having anything on top,” she said. “Members in our community as well, they’ve been great, suggesting putting frost on the glass.”
“So that’s kind of the direction we’re going in right now.”
One of the most important investments however, are cameras.
“Have cameras at eye level, so you can get a glimpse of the face of anyone who may potentially break into your business. Have a camera pointed out the door for vehicles and make sure your camera is high quality and that you have an alarm system in place,” Gemmell explained.
“Because without your system, without the cameras we’d have no proof, no evidence of anybody breaking in.”
The one positive of the incident, according to Gemmell, is the reminder of how much people in Regina truly care.
“Community support has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said.
“We’ve had a lot of people who are coming in, who’ve never come in before because they saw something on Facebook or Instagram and are wanting to help and support the local business community.”