In “After a Van Gogh Heist Rattled Museums and Collectors, Experts Weigh In on How to Protect Your Art During a Lockdown” (artNet News, 1 April 2020), Jordan Arnold, head of the Private Client Services and Strategic Risk and Security practices at K2 Intelligence FIN, provides tips on how institutions can maintain secure collections in light of the theft of a Van Gogh painting from the Singer Laren. Mitigation tips include:

  • Use video monitoring. Larger institutions like museums will likely already have video monitoring and other technology as part of a robust security program—but they should ensure these cameras are working and still producing quality footage. Cameras outside a building serve as clear deterrents to criminals who are trying to fly under the radar. Smaller entities—like galleries or private collectors—should consider options for cameras, too.
  • Leverage physical deterrents. Basic elements like bright lighting can help as well. Additionally, institutions should consider temporary barriers to entry. For example, a museum or gallery can use a temporary metal barrier at entry points to help block illicit entry. In the event of a theft, this kind of barrier can also slow a criminal down from exiting the building with a piece of art or artifact, allowing first responders more time to arrive on scene. Also, for buildings with glass entry points, glass security film can help slow down criminals seeking a type of “smash and grab” robbery. Instead of the glass shattering upon impact, it will spider and make it more difficult and time consuming to break in. This will also provide additional time for police to arrive on scene.
  • Audit collections large and small. Regular collection audits should also be done, both during this time and during “regular” operations. One of the key determinative factors in whether a theft is solved is how much time passes between the theft and the realization that the piece is missing: the bigger that window, the less likely it is to be solved. In this vein, private collectors, galleries, and museums should regularly take inventory to account for all pieces, and take prompt, thoughtful action when it is determined that something is missing.

Read the full article in artNet News