In a smartphone era, when virtually everyone has their own personal surveillance system a simple click away, it's amazing to think bank robberies still occur. While they're not nearly as common as in prior years, heists of financial institutions still transpire at a pretty alarming rate, in branch settings large and small.
How can you better ensure your staff and customers' safety from the bad actors who commit these brazen crimes? Appropriately, it may start at your facility's very front door.
Based on the most recent figures available from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were 3,378 robberies, burglaries and larcenies at financial institutions throughout the U.S. in 2018. Virtually all of these felonies were executed independently, and an indicative 27.2% of those apprehended had been convicted of one or several similar offenses previously. Once a thief, always a thief.
"There were 3,378 robberies, burglaries and larcenies throughout the U.S. in 2018."
Most attempts happen on Fridays
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given its nearness to the weekend when cash transactions are more common, Friday was the most common day on which robberies occurred in 2018, according to FBI data. Furthermore, the vast majority took place during regular operating hours, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Indeed, of the nearly 3,373 incidents in 2018 (the timing could not be confirmed on five of the original total), only 243 happened after 6 p.m. or before 9 a.m. Translation: Staff and/or customers are highly likely to be in harm's way.
What also speaks to the potential impact on their well-being is where within the facilities these incidents happen. There are several potential points of vulnerability, such as at ATMs, drive-thru windows, vaults and night depositories, among others. Overwhelmingly, heists occurred at counters, where tellers and customers traditionally stand on opposing sides, totaling 2,867, or 85% of the reported incidents. The remaining 15% of thefts affected surrounding portions of FIs including office and sitting areas, ATMs and vaults.
Here's the good news: Bank crime is down – way down. For instance, in 2008, nearly 6,850 robberies, burglaries and larcenies happened nationally, according to the FBI. So 2018's total of 3,378 was more than halved from a decade ago. Also encouraging, no staff or customers were killed in these scenarios.
Yet ask anyone who's been involved in these incidents and they'll be the first to tell you just how harrowing these experiences can be, as more often than not, perpetrators either brandish a weapon, or at the very least threaten to use one if their demands aren't met.
What are entrance control vestibules?
When it comes to the safety and protection of their assets and data, Americans trust banks more than any other major entity, according to polling from the American Banking Association; more so than health care providers, non-bank payment providers, government, telecom companies and major retailers combined. You can more effectively live up to account holders' high expectations with a safety-first approach. As previously referenced, that begins at the beginning, as people approach your facility to conduct various transactions. Entrance control vestibules essentially serve as lobby areas that separate the outdoor entrance to the facility from your bank's interior. It's highly likely you've walked through ECVs dozens of times before without noticing it – which is a good thing, as they're intended to blend in with the rest of the building. In this way, ECVs are kind of like undercover cops, only better, as they're outfitted with state-of-the-art security features and enhancements that help deter bank-related criminal acts.
"ECVs come with weapons-grade glass paneling."
Case in point: shatterproof glass. Many ECVs come with weapons-grade glass paneling that is custom built to withstand gunshots fired at long or close range. These vestibules can also be installed with weapons detection technology. Usually positioned in the very center of the ECV, these systems can immediately determine the presence of a weapon, which can prevent bad actors from entering the facility – or from leaving until police units arrive. Entrance control vestibules not only enhance the physical safety of your facility, employees and customers, but help add to their comfort, letting them rest assured in the knowledge that their transactions are being done in an orderly, well-protected environment. This fact alone can make ECVs a highly worthwhile investment. Furthermore, they can provide a more immediately discernible ROI by reducing the need for security personnel; something commonly sought by institutions in metropolitan areas or in close proximity to interstates.
Additionally, because these units are modular, they can be customized to your facility's entrance specifications and overall security framework.
Whether your FI is located in a high-crime area or you're simply looking to be more proactive about your staff and customers' well-being – not to mention their assets – BranchServ has the knowledge, equipment and capabilities to protect your branch from worst-case scenarios. Please contact us directly today to learn more.