News Local

Big drop in Vancouver bank robberies

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Technology is cited as a possible reason why the number of bank robberies has dropped. (FOTOLIA)

Technology is cited as a possible reason why the number of bank robberies has dropped. (FOTOLIA)

Perhaps bank robbers have learned their ways, have been jailed, or are taking a holiday. No matter what the reason, bank robberies have just about disappeared as a category of crime in the City of Vancouver this year.

In the first six months of 2014, according to police stats, there were just four bank robberies. No other year dating back to 2003 can boast anything even close to that.

In some years over the past decade, there could be up to 200 robberies in a year — usually at least several dozen, if not more, by the half-year mark.

Vancouver police Sgt. Randy Fincham said on Wednesday that the number of bank robberies in the city has been falling as technology makes it easier for police to catch crooks.

“Video systems, camera systems ... fingerprints, other forensics left behind, have provided police the ability to make more arrests and do more thorough investigations,” he said.

“If you rob a bank in the City of Vancouver there’s in excess of 90% chance that you’re going to get caught.”

The advancements have seen the number of bank robberies each year fall from steady figures in the three-digit range to 47 for all of last year.

This year’s numbers could be an all-time low.

“We know there are some offenders that will rob a series of banks — possibly 10 or more,” Fincham said.

“Taking one person out makes a huge difference.”

However, just because the crooks are taking a break doesn’t mean police get to relax.

“Unfortunately ... the major crime section has both homicide, robbery, assault, arson as well as the bank robberies,” Fincham said.

“It’s not that these officers don’t have enough to do — they’ll focus efforts on other tasks and assignments.”


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