NYPD chief wants banks to get smart

September 11, 2008 3:58:27 PM PDT
The NYPD says the number of bank robberies is on the rise. And they say it is not because criminals are getting smarter, but because banks are getting more lax with security.Now, police commission Ray Kelly wants banks to take more responsibility to curb the rise in robberies.

These days, it seems like there is a bank on every corner. And more this year than last, those banks are getting robbed. According to the NYPD, by September 2 of this year, there were 265 bank robberies compared to just 177 by the same time last year.

"Banks are not taking the proper technological precautions," former NYPD commissioner Howard Safir said.

Safir now runs a security company, and he says that, in an effort to be more customer friendly, some banks are letting their guard down.

"Bank robbers assess facilities," Safir said. "They do surveillance. They look at the probability of getting caught."

According to one NYPD source, the banks hit the most are Wachovia, followed by Commerce. Rounding out the top three is Sovereign Bank.

Outside one Wachovia, customers had mixed feelings about heavy security.

"I actually live uptown where they do keep the glass screen, and I feel that the customer service up there isn't as good as it is down here," customer Jamine Neaves said.

Back in 2003, Kelly called a meeting of bank executives and asked them to follow 14 "best practices," including digital cameras, bullet-proof barriers and dye packs. Robberies dropped. But now they are back up, and the worry is that the increase in incidents will lead to an rise in people getting hurt.

The NYPD says Kelly plans to call bank executives in to talk about security sometime in the next few weeks.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Phil Lipof

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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