With the most recent statistics showing bank robberies dropping to 3,961 incidents — down from as much as 9,540 in 1992, it’s apparent that cybercrime is now accounting for the most losses experienced by financial institutions.
The FBI statistics also showed that bank robberies declined in 2011 from the previous year in all regions, with the exception of the Southwest region that includes California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Bank robberies overall dropped to 5,014 in 2011 — down from 5,546 in 2010.
On the other hand, financial institutions are a top target for cyberattacks, with 39 percent of those in the sector reporting that they had been victims of cybercrime, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Economic Crime Survey. That compares to 17 percent in other industries.
Physical robberies still a concern
While there is a significant shift in attacks, banks still should be concerned with robberies — especially in light of the fact that robberies of the note variety, in which criminals use simple notes in the act, have been on the decline, while takeover robberies are seeing an upward trend, according to a report by the American Bank Association (ABA). Those are defined as robberies in which the criminals, in many cases armed, storm the bank and take over the lobby while demanding cash.
Yet, as the ABA reported, banks still must realize the significant threat caused by bank robberies because of their nature. “Physical crime can have a potentially significant impact on the consumers,” said Doug Johnson, vice president of risk management. “A bank robbery is something you remember.”
Bulletproof glass and other protective measures
In addition to security measures and systems, such as surveillance cameras, bulletproof glass in front of teller stations, alarm systems, vaults, tamper-resistant locks, and security guards, banks should regularly train all employees on the proper procedures to follow during a robbery, as required by the Bank Protection Act. Those precautions include bank tellers avoiding any arguments with robbers or trying to talk them out of the crime; not getting involved in the pursuit of the criminals; and not making sudden movements during a takeover robbery.