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

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

Banks tend to be easily accessible from major roads and look like they can be entered and exited fast enough for a successful escape, Thomas said, but the reality is that banks are extremely secure, with cameras outside that catch footage of escape vehicles and more.

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of things in the world that happen because people didn’t think through the consequences,” Thomas said. “We’ve seen people who’ve barely scratched out a note to more sophisticated operations. ‘I want the money’ is the motivation. … You just never know what’s going to impact an individual to walk in with a note or otherwise and demand money.”

‘In the Hands of God’

Garison’s shooting at Metropolitan was the “first one in memory” of a teller during an Arkansas bank robbery, Holmes said. Garison’s killer, Grover Evans, was convicted of capital murder and is serving a life sentence.

“It was a tragic incident that we all will never forget. It left a tremendous sadness throughout our bank family, both with our employees and our customers,” said Susie Smith, senior executive vice president with Metropolitan National Bank.

Metropolitan trains its staff in how to respond to threats, and “any new technologies that are developed are embraced and implemented. We’re always vigilant,” Smith said.

Banks can’t necessarily prevent robberies, but they can always improve how well they respond to them and can work to protect customers and employees, Holmes said.

“We’ve gone a long way to educate bank employees, what steps to take,” Holmes said.

“Technology has improved security measures in every bank.”

The trouble, Chief Thomas said, is that banks must find a balance between employee safety and public accessibility.

“When you have someone who is intent on harming people, you can prepare as best as ever, but sometimes bad things do happen,” Smith said. “You’re literally in the hands of God.”



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