New York, NY – Bank robberies are up 50% this year, and the NYPD says it’s the banks’ fault.
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.
“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. “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.
The banks with the worst track record this year are:
• No. 1 Wachovia: 10 of its 24 branches have been targeted this year. Wachovia topped the list last year, too, with half its branches hit and crooks walking out with cash 100% of the time.
Wachovia’s 56th St. and Broadway branch in Manhattan was robbed four times last year – a record, police said
• No. 2 Commerce, self-described “America’s Most Convenient Bank”: 28 of its 64 branches have been targeted this year. It ranked second last year, too, with nearly half of all branches hit and thieves walking out with money 97% of the time.
• No. 3 Sovereign: 28 of its 81 branches have been hit this year. It ranked third last year with 46% of its branches hit and money successfully stolen 84% of the time.