Luxury retailers, city officials, banking representatives and government officials met in Cannes, France, on Thursday to discuss improving security measures after a series of high-profile holdups that have fostered a climate of insecurity on the French Riviera.
Participants approved a proposal by Adolphe Colrat, prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes department, to create a group modeled along the lines of the Comité Vendôme in Paris, which brings together retailers and hoteliers located on the famed square.
They will create the structure in early September and meet at least every six months, in addition to exchanging information on a daily basis, Colrat said.
The move comes after France’s biggest jewel heist on record. On July 28, a lone armed robber made off with a case of gems valued at $136 million at retail, destined for a temporary exhibit by jeweler Leviev at the Carlton hotel in Cannes. Insurers have offered a reward of $1.3 million for information leading to their recovery.
Days later, two armed robbers made off with a stash of luxury watches from the Kronometry store, located on the Boulevard de la Croisette opposite the Palais des Festivals, prompting Colrat to dispatch police reinforcements.
Among the suggestions put forward at Thursday’s meeting were selecting a spokesman to represent the retailers in talks with government officials and designating police officials on call 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies.
The group also discussed authorizing the use of private security personnel and temporary video-surveillance cameras outside luxury establishments for limited periods to boost security for special events.
Fabienne Ricard, head of the Comité Vendôme, said she has yet to be contacted for advice or information by organizers of the so-called Comité Croisette, but she planned to reach out to them, since the two entities would likely share some members.
She said the Comité Vendôme worked closely with neighboring police precincts and members had a system in place for alerting each other to any crimes. The organization also offers a subscription-based service allowing users to access specialized information about jewel and watch thefts.