Bank robberies are on the rise in Oklahoma, authorities say

Since the beginning of 2013, there have been 20 attempted bank robberies in Oklahoma, 15 in the Oklahoma City metro-area. At a projected rate of one robbery every five days, the state will surpass 2012's bank robbery count of 23 within a few weeks.
by Adam Kemp Published: April 15, 2013
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Rains said the FBI doesn't see any correlation between a poor economy and the increasing number of robberies. He said he thinks people just have a poor perception of how much money thieves get from robbing a bank, thinking it's a get-rich-quick avenue.

On average, bank robbers get away with a little more than a $1,000 because of banks' policies that limit how much money is kept in an employee's till.

The punishment for bank robbery can land someone in federal prison from 20 years to life, according to the FBI.

Disturbing trend

Rains said a disturbing trend is the number of recent robberies in which the suspects had guns out and aimed at people.

“That is sort of unusual,” Rains said. “Usually criminals threaten with a note or something like that. These recent ones have been much more brazen, which is scary because we don't want anyone hurt.”

No one has been injured in a robbery this year but with robberies possibly still on the rise in Oklahoma, banks are taking extra precautions and training employees about how to handle these situations.

Bank of Oklahoma CEO Marc Maun said employee and customer safety is a priority during a robbery, not the money.

“Our goal is to make sure our employees are prepared and our facilities are equipped, and hopefully we can deter the robbery from ever taking place at all,” Maun said.

“One of the simplest is training our employees to greet everyone that comes in the door and to look them in the eye. That simple technique could create a certain amount of anxiety on a would-be robber that would make them think twice,” he said.

Maun said BOK's security team is also up to date with the latest surveillance technology, which helps identify robbers.

In the end, Maun said he knows criminals always will be tempted by the cash within a bank, no matter what deterrents are in place. He said the safest way of dealing with any robber is just to give them what they want.

“The idea is to get them out of the bank as quickly as possible,” he said. “Comply with their demands, send them out the door and hope that's the end of it.”

NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.
by Adam Kemp
Enterprise Reporter
Adam Kemp is an enterprise reporter and videographer for the Oklahoman and Newsok.com. Kemp grew up in Oklahoma City before attending Oklahoma State University. Kemp has interned for the Oklahoman, the Oklahoma Gazette and covered Oklahoma State...
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