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Published:May 16th, 2007 14:34 EST
BANK ROBBERIES - 2006 Statistics Released

BANK ROBBERIES - 2006 Statistics Released

By SOP newswire

This past week, there were two major crimes that were both shocking, but for very different reasons.

In Bessemer, Alabama, a bank robber gunned down two tellers and took a third hostage before being shot by police. Last Thursday, just outside Columbia, South Carolina, gunmen made off with a sizeable stash from an armored car while it was stopped at a gas station.

Bank robberies may seem old-fashioned in this age of high-tech heists, but they continue to take a serious, sometimes deadly toll on local communities and businesses. Our Bank Crime Statistics report for 2006, now posted on this website along with figures for 2005, provides an in-depth look at the overall problem, with an eye towards preventing future incidents.

Our report—which provides breakdowns by state and region—covers robberies, burglaries, and larcenies from federally insured banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, and armored car companies, along with bank extortions.

An overview of the 2006 numbers:

  • Total violations: 7,272, up slightly from 6,957 in 2005.
  • Loot stolen: More than $70 million worth of cash, checks, and other property, with $11.2 million recovered by law enforcement to date.
  • The prime time for bank robberies: Between 9 and 11 on Tuesday mornings, which edged out Wednesday from 11 to 1 p.m. and Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Most likely target: Branch offices of metropolitan commercial banks.
  • Their modus operandi: Firearms were involved 1,855 times; demand notes were used almost 4,000 times.
  • Acts of violence: Were committed in 329, or 4.5%, of the 7,272 violations. Of the 13 total deaths, 10 were the perpetrators.

The bottom line of these stats: To help solve bank robberies and prevent future ones. We've collected descriptive data on bank robberies since 1970, making it available to field agents to use in their investigations. At the same time, the information helps financial institutions know what to look for and to shore up security accordingly.

Our role. We've been chasing down bank robbers and solving major heists since the days of John Dillinger and "Baby Face" Nelson. In the early days we supported local authorities; in 1934, however, it became a federal crime to rob any national bank or state member bank of the Federal Reserve System. The law was expanded to include bank burglary, larceny, and similar crimes against federally insured savings and loans and federal credit unions, with jurisdiction delegated to the FBI.

Today, with more resources focused on terrorism and other national security priorities, we work with our state and local counterparts through our Violent Crimes Task Forces to better leverage our limited resources. We also continue to provide financial institutions with security best practices to make them less vulnerable to robberies.