Magazine article American Banker

Industry's Emphasis on Deterrence Seen as Curbing Robbers

Magazine article American Banker

Industry's Emphasis on Deterrence Seen as Curbing Robbers

Article excerpt

The number of bank robberies and related crimes dipped last year from the record level of 1991, according to data recently published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The decline - the first since 1985 - indicates that new efforts to deter such crimes are paying off, said Gale Evans, chief of the FBI's violent crimes bureau in Washington.

"The banking community has recognized this as a problem, and they've taken steps on their own" to correct it, Mr. Evans said.

Concern over bank crime peaked in 1991, when 9,810 robberies, burglaries, and larcenies were committed at commercial and savings banks, savings and loans, credit unions, and armored carrier companies - the highest number since the FBI began compiling the data in 1934.

In 1992, the FBI counted 9,512 of these crimes.

The data show that the bank crime capital of the country is California. According to the FBI, there were 3,401 bank robberies, burglaries, and larcenies in the Golden State in 1992.

New York was second with 664 incidents, followed by Florida, with 527.

Quick Getaways a Factor

Mr. Evans said that California is susceptible to bank crime because its extensive freeway system gives robbers an easy means of escape.

Gang violence, and the rising popularity of "takeover crimes," where robbers use guns or intimidation to control a bank, are also fueling the problem.

Banks are fighting back, including BankAmerica Corp., which was hit with a whopping 744 robberies in 1992. …

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