Bank Robberies on Decline Despite Rotten Economy

Banks still build fortresses even though better options exist

Take a look at the FBI’s latest data on robberies of financial institutions for April 1 through June 30, 2010 (tables below). Despite the roughest economy seen in decades, overall robberies are actually on the decline (1,146 in Q2 2010 vs. 1,278 in the same period a year prior, down 10%).

The presence of security guards failed to prevent 49 robberies, while 137 financial institutions were robbed despite having bullet-resistant enclosures. Alarms were available but not activated in 9% of crimes. Cameras weren’t on in 1.9% of robberies. Bait money was only used 60% of the time. Dye packs were only used 52%.

Acts of violence were committed during 58 (5%) of the 1,146 robberies, burglaries, and larcenies which occurred during the three-month period. These acts included 14 instances where firearms were discharged, 39 assaults, and five hostage situations. (Note: one or more acts of violence may occur during an incident.) The total number of incidents in which injuries occurred was 16. These acts of violence resulted in 23 injuries, five deaths, and nine persons taken hostage.

Key Takeaways: The fear of robberies — especially those resulting in injury or death — far exceeds the actual number that occur. Not all branches are equally likely to be robbed. Location, design and staffing all impact a robber’s decision to hit your facilities or not. For instance, the closer you locate tellers to the entrance, the more likely you are to get robbed. Despite what many bankers believe, building fortresses loaded with security devices does not stop some robbers. Even branches stuffed with alarms, security guards and bullet-resistant glass get robbed. The most effective method for preventing robberies is simply greeting everyone with a “hello” when they enter your branches.

If you want to create a secure environment in your branches without undermining the quality of the customer experience, please take the time to read these articles:

Violations by Type of Institution

Grand Total – All Violations: 1,146

Robberies Burglaries Larcenies
Commercial Banks 1,013 10 0
Mutual Savings Banks 11 0 0
Savings and Loan Associations 26 0 0
Credit Unions 85 1 0
Total 1,135 11 0

Loot Taken

Loot was taken in 1,041 (91%) of the 1,146 incidents.

Cash $8,422,761.81
Securities—Face Value
Checks (Including Traveler’s Checks) $4,130.45
Food Stamps
Other Property
Total $8,426,892.26

Loot Recovered

Full or partial recovery of loot taken was reported by law enforcement agencies in 221 (21%) of the 1,041 incidents in which loot was taken.

Cash $1,282,899.18
Securities Face Value
Checks (Including Traveler’s Checks) $4,130.45
Food Stamps
Other Property
Total $1,287,029.63

Number, Race, and Sex of Perpetrators

The number of persons known to be involved in the 1,146 robberies, burglaries, and larcenies was 1,364. The following table shows a breakdown of the 1,364 persons who have been identified by race and sex. In 19 cases, the use of full disguise made determination of race and sex impossible.

White Black Hispanic Other Unknown
Male 549 572 82 18 35
Female 52 28 3 4 2

Investigations have resulted in the identification of 554 (41%) of the 1,364 persons involved. Of these 554 identified persons, 186 (34%) were users of narcotics and 78 (14%) were previously convicted in either federal or state court for bank robbery, bank burglary or bank larceny.

Occurrences by Day of Week and Time of Day

Monday 217 6-9 a.m. 25
Tuesday 208 9-11 a.m. 354
Wednesday 186 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 251
Thursday 199 1-3 p.m. 255
Friday 223 3-6 p.m. 228
Saturday 94 6 p.m.-6 a.m. 32
Sunday 5 Not Determined 1
Not Determined 14
Total 1,146 Total 1,146

Type of Financial Institution Office

Main Office 34
Branch Office 1,095
Store 11
Remote Facility/Other 6
Total 1,146

Location of Financial Institution Office

Commercial District 747
Shopping Center 285
Residential 74
Other Location 40
Total 1,146

Community Type

Metropolitan 560
Suburban 206
Small City/Town 361
Rural 19
Total 1,146

Institutional Areas Involved

Counter 1,104 Night Depository 0
Vault/Safe 54 ATM 1
Safe Deposit Area 3 Courier/Messenger 0
Office Area 34 Armored Vehicle 9
Drive-In/Walk-Up 8 Other 9

Security Devices Installed

Alarm System 1,130
Surveillance Cameras 1,134
Bait Money 720
Guards 54
Tear Gas/Dye Packs 266
Electronic Tracking 133
Bullet-Resistant Enclosures 137

Security Devices In Use During Crimes

Alarms were available but not activated in 9% of crimes. Cameras weren’t on in 1.9% of all crimes. Bait money was only used 60% of the time. Dye packs were only used 52%. The presences of security guards failed to prevent 49 robberies, while 137 financial institutions were robbed despite having bullet-resistant enclosures.

Alarm System Activated 1,051
Surveillance Cameras Activated 1,113
Bait Money Taken 429
Guards on Duty 49
Tear Gas/Dye Packs Taken 138
Electronic Tracking Activated 71

Modus Operandi

Demand Note Used 622
Firearm Used 293
Handgun 288
Other Firearm 12
Other Weapon Used 27
Weapon Threatened 497
Explosive Device Used or Threatened 32
Oral Demand 622
Vault or Safe Theft 4
Depository Trap Device 0
Till Theft 23
Takeover 66

Injuries, Deaths, and Hostages Taken

Acts of violence were committed during 58 (5%) of the 1,146 robberies, burglaries, and larcenies which occurred during the three-month period. These acts included 14 instances where firearms were discharged, 39 assaults, and five hostage situations. (Note: one or more acts of violence may occur during an incident.) The total number of incidents in which injuries occurred was 16. These acts of violence resulted in 23 injuries, five deaths, and nine persons taken hostage.

Customer 2
Employee 18
Employee Family 0
Perpetrator 0
Law Officer 1
Guard 0
Other 2
Total 23

Deaths

Number of incidents in which deaths occurred: 4.

Customer 0
Employee 0
Employee Family 0
Perpetrator 3
Law Officer 0
Guard 0
Other 2
Total 5

Hostages Taken

Number of incidents in which hostages were taken: 5.

Customer 2
Employee 7
Employee Family 0
Law Officer 0
Guard 0
Other 0
Total 9

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