By Steve Rensberry, Editor
According to FBI crime reports, upwards of 5,000 bank robberies occur in the U.S. on an average year. Fortunately, estimates on the capture rate are also relatively high, with some saying it is close to 98 percent. In 2018 there were 3,033 incidents of robbery involving a bank or similar institution. In 2017 there were 3,937, and in 2016 there were 4,251.
The modus operandi used by bank robbers in 2018? They were: Demand note used, 1,813; firearm used, 545; handgun, 499; other firearm, 25; other weapons used, 67; weaponed threatened, 1,329; explosive device used or threatened, 54; oral demand, 1,252, depository trap device, 1; vault or safe theft, 30; till theft, 33; takeover, 169. Friday was the preferred day of the week last year, with the majority (628) occurring on a Friday, followed by Thursday (543), Monday (544), Tuesday (512), and Wednesday (498). Saturday robberies totaled 267, probably because of shortened banking hours, and Sunday robberies numbered only 41, being a day when most banks are closed.
The Metro East is not without its share of bank robberies, with three of the most recent occurring in Collinsville this year. Kudos to our local police departments and investigators for the quick arrests in all three cases, the most recently being the arrest of 39-year-old Travis A. Fletcher.
While no one was injured in the robbery, witnesses say Fletcher revealed a handgun in his waistband before demanding money from a bank teller.
It’s hard to fathom the lapse of reason, common sense, or utter desperation leading to a person’s decision to commit bank robbery, or any robbery for that matter, but living in the communication age with a growing number of video surveillance cameras and crime-fighting tools available, it makes even less sense than it has in years past. It is really worth the risk?