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Bank robberies a growing trend in Vancouver

RBC bank located on 49th and Fraser Street. Photo by Chandler Walter.

Reported by Chandler Walter

Bank robbery is on the rise in Vancouver this year, even though it’s a crime that carries a high arrest risk and has a low return, say police.

The bank thefts have gone up from 22 by the end of September in 2015 to 39 in the same time frame in 2016, according to a third-quarter report from the police department.

Robbers walk away with little to no money

These crimes have a low payoff due to banks’ centralized teller system, and robbers don’t get away with much, if at all, as the arrest rate for bank robberies is the highest of all crimes, according to Staff Sgt. Randy Fincham.

“They do a lot of time for not a lot of money. It blows our mind that people still rob banks,” said Fincham. “You’re going to do some serious time for robbing a bank. You’re a getting a couple hundred dollars at a place that has got the best video security that we could have.”

Police Chief Adam Palmer said that serial offenders recently released from prison likely cause the increase in robberies, as those offenders often commit multiple robberies in a row before being arrested again.

Security cameras in banks have the best quality images available. Photo by Chandler Walter.

“We’ll pick them up, we’ll solve a string of five or six bank robberies, they’ll go back to jail for three or four years,” he said.

Fincham chalks the repeated offences up to engrained habit in the criminals.

“Some of them do it for financial gain, some of them do it because that’s what they know; that’s how they survive, that’s their job, robbing a bank, that’s how they get by.”

Bank robberies are more common than you think

But bank officials say that, while robbing banks may seem like a foolish objective, it happens more often than most would realize.

“[Bank robberies are] more common than you and a lot of people might know,” said Aurora Bonin, senior media relations manager at HSBC. “They’re something we’re aware of, and we work closely with […] the local authorities and, of course, our own internal teams to manage, mitigate and make sure that if it does happen that we learn from it, and make sure our staff are taken care of.”

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