Downward Trend Continues in Bank Robberies

By Carlton Purvis

Bank robberies and related crimes were down in the first quarter of 2011, continuing a downward trend found in the comparable quarter of 2010 and 2009 as well, according to the latest FBI report on bank crimes statistics. The report also shows that banks are recovering a greater percentage of what was stolen.
Not all bank robberies are reported to the FBI, so the report isn’t a complete compilation of all banks crimes in the country, but it provides a snapshot of trends being seen and countermeasures being used at U.S. financial institutions.
There were 1,092 violations of the Federal Bank Robbery and Incidental Crimes Statute, according to the FBI press release issued yesterday (June 6, 2011), along with the full report on bank crimes statistics. This number is down only slightly from the first quarter of last year (just 9 incidents) but it is down markedly from the two prior years (by more than 400 compared to 2009 and 500 compared to 2008).
Thanks to the watchful eyes of more than 1,055 surveillance cameras, plus the effectiveness of 58 electronic tracking devices placed in bags of money, and 90 exploding dye packs, $1.7 million was recovered in the first quarter. While that’s only 23 percent of the total taken, it represents progress. Only 16 percent ($1.9 million) was recovered in the first quarter of 2009, and only 20 percent was recovered in 2010 ($1.9 million).
A few things that didn’t change: For the most part, Sunday is a day off for bank robberies. Less than one percent occurred on Sundays. Not surprising, since banks are closed then. Fridays, on the other hand, saw more robberies than any other day of the week – 20 percent of all occurrences, and most of the incidents occurred between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Ninety percent of robberies occurred at the counter of an institution, using oral demands or notes in addition to threats with firearms and explosives. And although acts of violence were rare (4 percent of incidences), they resulted in 24 injuries and 18 hostages taken. Of the three deaths, however, all were the perpetrators.

Photo By colin.brown/flickr


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