With Security Up, Bank Robberies Down to 10-Year Low in Arkansas

by Kate Knable  on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 12:00 am  

Last month, the robbers’ bare faces, captured clearly on surveillance video at the Centennial branch at 520 S. Bowman Road, were easily shared digitally among law enforcement agencies, banks, robber tracking websites and the media.

Clear pictures taken from surveillance videos that can be disseminated quickly by email result in more rapid identification and arrests of robbers, Thomas said.

The Centennial Bank robbers of last month hadn’t been caught as of Thursday, but the quick sharing of surveillance photos has resulted at times in almost immediate arrests, he said.

“One particular situation I can recall, we were almost at the suspect’s house almost as fast as he was, after the robbery,” Thomas said. “We were there just almost as he was closing the door.”

Last summer, a branch of Citizens Bank in Imboden (Lawrence County) was robbed, but “a suspect was apprehended within minutes of fleeing the bank,” President and CEO John Dews said in an email.

Bank robbery is a federal crime, and local law enforcement works with the FBI to apprehend bank robbers.

The Whys

The reasons that robbers still target banks, despite their low success rates, vary.

“There is always going to be someone who’s desperate for what they think is fast, easy access to cash,” said Holmes, with the ABA. “Unemployment’s high; the economy’s tough.”

Lisa Nesbitt, president of the state’s Bankers Security Council, said types of bank robbers and their motivations differ.

“There’s more bank robberies when the economy’s bad. It’s still that way. For awhile there, we were seeing a different kind of bank robber [nationally],” Nesbitt said.

“Some of them just were family men who were just desperate to get enough cash to make their mortgage payment. ... It’s more of a nonviolent crime, normally. Usually someone trying to buy drugs.”



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