Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Re-Shaping Bank Security, Service through Technology

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Re-Shaping Bank Security, Service through Technology

Article excerpt

In May of this year, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly met with the media to answer questions about the unprecedented number of bank robberies in his city. That same day, three more New York City banks were robbed.

A man armed with a black and silver semi-automatic handgun robbed a Salt Lake City bank on October 21. It was Utah's 100th bank robbery of the year-more than the combined totals for the past five years.

Nationwide, according to the FBI, the number of bank robberies in 2003 is down from last year. Yet across the country in cities such as San Diego, Atlanta and Boston, bank robberies are soaring. Law enforcement experts point to a number of reasons for the increases in these select areas.

Suburban bank sprawl and extended teller hours have made it easier for robbers to get in and out of branches more quickly. Now fewer than 15 percent of banks employ security guards. There has been growth in the crime-committing age group of 18 to 24-year-olds and increased unemployment has not helped.

But no city has felt the dangers and costs of bank robberies more than New York. Through mid-October, New York police reported more than 330 bank robberies, double the number during the same period last year.

The sheer numbers of robberies and criticisms from the law enforcement community has led to a new self-appraisal by the banking community. Bank officials are realizing that gaps in security practices--such as the use of outdated VCR surveillance recording systems or insufficient access control to data rooms where customer identities are stored--are too commonplace, exposing banks to mounting liability and losses.

A 2002 survey of financial institutions by ADT Security Services showed the focus of bankers was simple and straightforward. They want to protect their employees, customers, facilities and data against risk while still offering their customers increasing levels of personal service.

Fortunately, technology today enables security and personal service to co-exist. One proven security solution readily available today is digital surveillance and storage. High quality digital cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs) can capture sharp facial images of persons completing business at teller stations, ATMs and exits. These images can be easily transferred to portable media, such as CDs or DVDs, for sharing with law enforcement. DVRs can also be networked to provide corporate officials with images from across a city or across the nation. …

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