16 th European Report on Bank Robberies. Executive Summary. EBF ref Brussels, November 2008

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1 EBF ref Brussels, November th European Report on Bank Robberies Executive Summary The problem of robberies is constant and will remain as long as money exists. Recently, countries have had to deal with changes in the type of assailants. This is frequently accompanied by a change in the modus operandi. The criminal threat also seems to be influenced by the economic situation in the country concerned or in neighbouring countries. During the annual meeting of the Physical Security Working Group held in Cyprus on 30 May 2008, attention was again focussed on bank raids. An analysis, based on a statistical and practical exchange of information, was made of the financial institutions exposure to criminal actions. Topics discussed in depth included violent attacks, such as raids on bank branches, ATMs and cash in transit. Within the framework of these discussions, the working group tried to detect the general tendencies in the field of bank security, as well as the new developments and the countermeasures. This exchange of information aims to get a better understanding of new risks and to elaborate more appropriate protective measures. The overall view over 2007 statistics on bank robberies has put in light some general tendencies. Firstly, the small drop in raids that had been initiated in 2005 stabilized. There was no significant decrease in 2007 figures. The average haul stays rather stable and still high, even though total losses kept on lowering. Secondly, the nature of risks is evolving. The development in the field of risks for branches to be attacked is becoming more and more widespread. Traditional ways of operating are still used but new ones are being improved. There is a focus on ATM-centred raids. Furthermore, the increase of violent ways of operating continues in 2007 (direct intimidation of the cashier, forced access, gas attacks on ATMs). The use of violence is reported in nearly every country, committed both by amateurs and by professionals. The amateur robberies are the most frequent in They are habitually accompanied by violence, although it may not be instrumental. In professional robberies, the personnel of banks is generally kept under intimidation for longer, and so there is a much greater physical and psychological impact (on employees and on customers). Therefore, victims support is provided for both staff and customers in almost every country. Finally, the desire to relieve banking personnel of tasks linked to the treatment of cash leads to a gradual modification of the modus operandi. In 2006, the number of ATMs robberies has significantly increased and damages in euros were almost multiplied by five. This trend a.i.s.b.l. 10 rue Montoyer B Brussels +32 (0) phone +32 (0) fax

2 has changed in 2007 as the ATMs attacks switched towards fraudulent extractions causing a significant decrease in the amount of damages (i.e. ram raids and explosions on ATMs which are less numerous than extractions in 2007 were provoking much more important losses). 2. Trends The robbery situation varies greatly from one country to another. Still, broadly speaking, some trends can be observed. 2.1 Number of robberies In 2007, 5550 bank robberies were committed, which is more (+3%) than in The evolution as for the number of robberies is different from one country to another. In some countries, the increase is relatively high. However, most countries are seeing falling or stabilizing robbery figures. The percentage of unsuccessful raids in 2007 (15%) has not changed compared to The risk rate which provides an objective standard also varies strongly between countries. The highest rates was 1/9 followed by 1/14. The lowest risk rates were 1/411 and, 1/379. In 2007, the risk rate amounted to 1 to 37 in the EBF countries (as compared to 1 to 38 in 2006) 2.2 Target The rapidly evolving branches In most countries the number of branches continues to fall, due to the policy of enhancing services efficiency by promoting the use of electronic banking. Yet, this decrease is minor (-1% compared to 2006) and not that significant as for the period. In 2007, the total amount of braches comes to units. Given the cost efficiency and the wishes of customers to get round-the-clock banking services, cash is increasingly dispensed through ATMs. Thus, more and more ATMs are installed off-premises. The trend of installing money boxes in shops or publics areas is continuing. In some countries, over half of the ATMs are located in supermarkets. These ATMs are operated in a variety of ways: either the bank is the owner and rents space, or it operated together by the bank and the retailer for their joint account. There are also joint ventures between retailers and, for instance, cash-in-transit operators. Cash handling is increasingly being outsourced to specialised companies. This is done not only for efficiency or cost reasons but also in view of the security risks. 2

3 Nonetheless, the bank branch currently still remains one of the biggest distribution canals, but also evolving in term of concept. Furthermore, in some countries, the desire to limit operations with little added value leads to a progressive transformation of certain bank branches. This trend results in developing branches that are more specialised in advice and sometimes cashless. Consequently, the number and use of ATMs keeps rising. Other types of machines are also appearing: cash recycling machines, machines for cash depositing or dispensing, cheque processing, etc. Thus, more than before, funds intended for or originating from clients are concentrated, i.e. in the special area where the different machines are located. It is therefore equally logical that the number of direct attacks (extraction, explosives, gas ) but also indirect (threatening of employees in order to make them open up the ATM safes, attacks when the ATM is being supplied ) will continue to increase in the future. ATMs are a popular target for professionals because of the large amount of money which can be contained. As for the attacks against the ATM Network (ram raids or explosions), their number is slightly decreasing while the amount of extractions from ATMs rose by 144% comparing to The other big trend initiated a few years ago, is to take on people in order to get around the security devices, which usually are well developed in banks. The criminals directly attack bank employees or members of their family and force them to deactivate the existing security devices in order to get cash money. Tiger kidnapping occurred in several countries but their extent is not as significant as in 2006 (see point 2.5). 2.3 Perpetrators It is difficult to gather precise information about the people committing robberies and other aggressions towards banks. Nevertheless, some trends can be observed. Although it may vary from country to country, robbers can be divided into two major groups. On the one hand, professionals, well prepared, often using extreme violence and tailor-made means, target large amounts of money. On the other hand, there is an important group of amateurs (60% of robbers in 2007). They tend to be satisfied with a smaller booty and remain dangerous given that they use weapons as well. The proportion between the group of amateurs and professionals varies between countries. However, the general tendency is that the number of amateurs is higher than that of professionals. This is reflected in the number of perpetrators per raid. On average, 48% of the robberies were committed by one perpetrator, 25% by two and 14% by more than two perpetrators. 3

4 In some countries the robbers population consists of a disproportionate number of foreigners. This complicates the investigation as the raiders are not known in the country and after striking usually quickly depart elsewhere. Against this background, a coordinated cross-border approach by the European police authorities should be given due attention. The progression of the number of attacks appears largely to be due to groups of raiders who commit series of robberies. Success often results in imitation, can attract other potential robbers and the experience gained during earlier raids is passed on within the groups. Thus, the security measures implemented by banks as well as the police action and vigilance are crucial in discouraging potential raiders. Indeed, the number of arrests influences the amount of attempted attacks. An alarming trend is the continuing increase in the use of violence during raids. Some perpetrators do not hesitate to take more risks, with regard to the means employed, e.g. explosives which are difficult to handle. Serious and prolonged threats evidently carry considerable risks to the physical integrity of the employees and clients and may also have a great psychological impact on the victims. This type of aggression is more common for organised gangs that prepare their raids well in order to obtain larger amounts. However, such type of aggressors groups remains minor compared to the number of amateurs. 2.4 Protective countermeasures Protective countermeasures are aimed to anticipate and limit risks as much as possible, especially for the bank employees and clients. The most effective measure to fight bank robberies is police intervention. In countries where the police actively concentrate on groups of raiders, the robbery statistics are falling. Knowing that groups commit series of robberies, repression appears to be the best prevention. The 2007 statistics prove that in countries where an effective collaboration between the banks, the security companies and the police exists, the number of raids decline significantly. In a large number of countries, the use of surveillance cameras (sometimes visible, sometimes combination of visible and invisible, sometimes near the ATM, often covering the entrance), of attack alarms and burglar alarms is largely developed. The use of camera systems can help the police to arrest the robbers. With clear pictures showing a recognisable face of the raider, many repeat offenders can be traced. The combination of cameras with alarm systems increases the chances of the police arresting the raider. But, the alarm is not launched until the incident is committed. In general, metal detectors are used to a limited extent. Safes and vaults with time delay unlocking are used in some countries but their development, broadly speaking, still remains limited. 4

5 There is a growing tendency to attack bank employees outside of the usual confines of the bank branch and to force them into deactivating the security system, so bank employees are expected to be more vigilant. Therefore, regular banks staff training is provided in most of the countries. This measure enhances the employees vigilance and improves their ability to deal with difficult situations during an attack (e.g.: the importance of quick reaction, the way to protect customers and employees from potential injuries and harm, the reaction towards raiders claims, etc.). In some countries special procedures are used e.g. the recommendation to cut off all contact (escape drill for the personnel) in case of an indirect threat made by a perpetrator. So far this technique has yielded good results, the perpetrator losing all contact with the person whom he is demanding to hand over the haul. Obviously, this kind of procedure is only applicable in branches with separated and protected cashier areas. In order to help the police investigation, it is also useful to provide the personnel with postincident instructions (do not clean up so as not to erase any traces, e.g. DNA, give a good description of the perpetrators, etc ). Procedures for this may be determined in advance in collaboration with the police. In addition to investigative tools, it is important that, for each individual bank office, a proper alarm, communication and attack plan is prepared in collaboration with the police. While reducing the chance of an escalation of attacks, it increases the chances of arrest of the perpetrators. Thus, in a number of countries, a reduction in losses has been achieved by banks ensuring a safe and secure cash handling environment, greater intelligence-sharing and targeted police action. In some countries the protection of the cashier area by means of bullet-proof (and burglarproof) glazing remains regular, in spite of a developing trend towards more open offices. In those latest cases, banks try to limit employees access to cash as much as possible. In several countries cash dispensers are therefore used. The principle is based on manindependent cash dispensation with certain limitations. The teller machines are only allowed to issue limited amounts per time unit. So the tellers are no longer the key to the money. Access to vaults or ATM safes may also be limited (time delay, distance opening). The aim is to prevent one single person from having access to large amounts. Some banks have also installed one-person locks which enables only one person at a time to enter the protected area. Such a measure disables hostage taking. These systems, although they offer unquestionable advantages in term of security, are not without disadvantages. Indeed, in addition to their cost, they can be the subject of inopportune destructions which have obviously negative consequences. In that respect, subcontracting may also offer solutions, e.g. because the personnel no longer has access to the ATMs. The maintenance of those ATMs is sometimes given to cash in transit firms. Yet in those cases as well, it is imperative that banks define preventive security measures with their subcontractors. Otherwise, attacks on the subcontractor will 5

6 inevitably have direct (cash distribution) or indirect (legal intervention) repercussions for the bank. With the aim to prevent ATM raids, the technical areas must be protected against forceful entries. It should be complementary to the protection of the ATM safes, which have to be securely anchored into the ground. Attacks on ATM, through extraction (ATM pulled out and hauled out with a fork-lift truck, or use of a lorry and a steel cable around the ATM) and use of explosives (or gas), can sometimes cause serious damage to the surrounding buildings. That is why, in some countries, ATMs are equipped with maculation systems for the bills in order to render the haul useless in case of a raid. The spreading implementation of ATMs in areas such as 24h service stations or supermarkets results in an increase of attacks in those places. Therefore, further security measures have to be applied in order to protect ATMs outside the bank premises. Generally no use is made of armed guards in branches. Presence of arms can result in an escalation of violence. Yet, guards can control the access as well as create an added sense of security among customers and the staff. Victim support is also consistently in place in all countries for staff as well as for customers. 2.5 Security transport In 2007, there were 304 attacks reported against cash-in-transit (CIT). This situation remains practically unchanged since the 2006 statistics. Against these attacks, often very violent (weapons of war, explosives, truck...), some countries reinforce the requirements as regards security of the CIT. Among the tendencies observed, in particular there is a greater use of the smart boxes (which neutralizes the values in the event of attacks) or staining systems which aims to make unusable any hauls. As a result, the additional security requirements applied to CIT are likely to provoke a shift of the robbers away from this type of target towards bank branches. In certain countries an increase can already be observed in the number of raids on branches during or right after the delivery of the funds by CIT. Several attacks were perpetrated on staff while replenishing ATMs inside the branch. 3. The future Robbery analyses indicate that protection against robbery and burglary will require constant attention in the future. Criminals will always try to find means to circumvent the security measures taken by banks. 6

7 Furthermore, the continuous upgrade of the protective measures adopted by the banks, close co-operation with the police and the effectiveness of the police in solving the cases and prosecuting the perpetrators will remain one of the determining factors in the fight against bank robberies. That is why, security committees, banks and the police have to actively develop their combined efforts in the investigation field, e.g.: information sharing, coordination of security measures, etc. In addition, a new trend to be discussed in the future is the developing of e-crimes provoking the need of improving the efficiency of computer security systems. There are more and more effective means to perpetrate e-bank raids, especially through criminal software available on the Internet. This issue will require a strong attention and monitoring. Even if other channels of distribution have been developed these last years, bank branches still remain the major place of the banking sector s activity. The branch model will undoubtedly continue to evolve towards greater automation with regard to the deposit and withdrawal of cash. Thus, the number of ATMs will continue to increase. Banks are also expected to further outsource their cash-handling. All these evolutions, leading to an increasingly less uniform branch concept, constitute an important challenge to the banks security as raiders quickly adapt their techniques to such changes. For instance, as more and more monies are concentrated in automats, the security problem is shifting towards ATMs. Therefore, particular protective measures must be improved regarding the ATM environment (ATMs themselves, as well as their servicing). 7

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