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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Banks to Blame for Surge in Bank Robberies?

Bank robberies are up 50% this year, and the NYPD says it's the banks' fault, the Daily News has learned.

The number of bank jobs hit 265 by Sept. 2, compared with 177 by the same time last year.

Police say the problem isn't that crooks are working harder - it's that banks aren't doing enough to protect their money.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is expected to call in bank execs in the coming weeks to press them to shore up security at local branches, top brass and officers in the city's bank robbery squads told The News.

"The new thing with banks is to be 'friendly' to customers. Branches look like lounges - no glass partitions, no security guards," said a police source who investigates bank robberies.

"They are 'friendly,' all right - 'friendly' to thugs who 'withdraw' other people's money."

The NYPD held a similar security bank summit in 2003 and asked banks to follow 14 "best practices," from the use of digital cameras and exploding dye packs to bulletproof bandit-barriers for tellers' booths.

Bank robberies dropped dramatically, from 408 in 2003 to a low of 229 in 2005.

Since then, the crooks - often career criminals who averaged about $4,800 per heist - seem to have regained the upper hand.

"There's a concern that adherence to best practices has slipped, and that it's reflected in the increase," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said. He wouldn't discuss specific banks.

Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]

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