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Bank Robbery - High-risk, Low-pay and Lethal

NCJ Number
Journal of Insurance Volume: 41 Dated: (March/April 1980) Pages: 25-30
A J Herbert
Date Published
6 pages
Characteristics of bank robbers and bank robberies as well as possible preventive measures are discussed.
Today's bank robber is characterized a male in his early 20's with a 25 to 30 percent chance of being a recidivist. He is generally not a bank specialist, although he has previously been involved in armed robbery. Robbers are frequently drug users. Guns are rarely used for bank robberies. Robbers are often loners who escape by blending with the crowd. Branch banks are the most frequent targets for robberies because parking lots can conceal robbers and nearby main roads facilitate getaways. Overall losses to robberies are significant, but individual bank robberies usually do not involve huge sums. As a rule, banks themselves must cover losses because insurance does not cover robberies. Possible preventive techniques include installation of bandit barriers (bullet-proof shields running from counter to ceiling) and offering rewards for information leading to the arrest of robbers. Other tools and techniques also contribute to reductions in the number of robberies, such as the single waiting line; surveillance and alarm cameras; rigged money smoke packs which explode after the robber leaves the bank, marking the robber's hand with a special dye; and good training programs for bank personnel. The simplest means of loss prevention is removal of the target through more frequent pickups of cash. Bank robbery cases must be prosecuted energetically: it is up to the judicial system to take the necessary action to prevent individuals from committing the same crime again. It is emphasized that the main threat of bank robberies is the danger to the lives of those who may innocently get in the way.