Bankers Association Offers Advice on Deterring Robberies

Article excerpt

In an attempt to reduce what appears to be an increasing number of bank robberies nationwide, an American Bankers Association committee has assembled a list of robbery prevention tips for financial institutions.

The association's security and fraud prevention committee developed the tips after meetings with Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Justice representatives. The meetings were held to try to determine possible causes for the recent increase in robberies and to develop solutions.

"With the sophisticated security devices banks have in place today to deter and detect bank robbers -- and the jail time bank robbers ultimately serve -- it's a mystery to us why anyone would take the chance of robbing a bank," said Charles J. Bock Jr., chairman of the committee and director of fraud prevention and investigation at Chase Manhattan Corp. in New York. Three out of four bank robbers are caught within 18 months of their crime, according to law enforcement officials. The high apprehension rate is due in large part to banks' diligence in providing law enforcement with good, clear photos of the bank robbers, they said. However, the officials gave no specific reasons for the recent rise in robberies. The ABA Security and Fraud Prevention Committee offered several tips for financial institutions: * Evaluate current internal training and enhance the training where appropriate. * Ensure that all security equipment is working properly, such as cameras, dye packs and alarms. * Establish liaisons with other financial institutions and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to exchange information and identify regional crime problems. * Perform ongoing risk assessment analyses of sites to determine security needs. Use law enforcement to assist in performing crime surveys. * Ensure you have the ability to provide law enforcement with quality photos. * Utilize or create reward programs. * After consultation with law enforcement, publish photographs of bank robber(s) using all available means -- news media, posters, the Internet. * Support additional resources for local, state and federal law enforcement. * Request law enforcement representatives to provide employee training or crime awareness seminars. * Make assistance available to all employees, customers and other community members involved in a bank robbery. "While there is no foolproof method to deter all robberies from occurring, it's incumbent upon all banks to make sure their security policies are current and that all employees are trained to handle a robbery situation before, during and after it occurs," Bock said. …