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Bank Robbing a Terrible Business, Statistically

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the far-better-to-steal-by-printing-money dept.

The Almighty Buck 207

isoloisti writes "Three UK economists got access to national data on bank robberies. The conclusion is that robbing banks pays, but not very much. Average take is about $19k per person per robbery. But, there's a 20% chance of being caught per raid. To make an average income, a robber needs to do two jobs per year, and has greater than 50% chance to be in the slammer after 2 years."

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Stupid thieves (5, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324599)

Banking, on the other hand...

Re:Stupid thieves (5, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324713)

Give a person a gun, and the can rob a bank

Give a person a bank, and the can rob a country.

Re:Stupid thieves (5, Funny)

Svippy (876087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324773)

You're twice the the he ever was!

Re:Stupid thieves (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325047)

Copy/Paste pattern duplicates errors!

Re:Stupid thieves (1)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325817)

whoosh!

Re:Stupid thieves (5, Funny)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324989)

Give them a political office and they can rob both.

Re:Stupid thieves (4, Insightful)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325297)

Give them a political office, and they can accept money from the bank ...so the bank can legally rob a country

Re:Stupid thieves (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325843)

Give them a political office and they can rob both.

And get paid to do it...
and get medical benefits...
and retirement!

Re:Stupid thieves (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325049)

Give a person a bank, and the can rob a country.

Absolutely, when there is no one watching what you are doing and the regulations are off the rails...it makes robbing a countryand its people so easy.

Just loan on the front and bet against those loans on the back...then ask for a bailout when things come crashing down (which banks knew would happen) and reward your board with big bonuses courtesy of the tax payers you already robbed...isn't double dipping great...especially against the middle class and poor.

Re:Stupid thieves (5, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326005)

this is too earnestly true to read as proper sarcasm.

i need a drink.

Re:Stupid thieves (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325323)

Realize that today a lot of banks don't handle the physical money - they only handle digital money, so being a bank robber is soon futile.

To get cash you need to stand in the ATM queue.

The downside is that robbing a supermarket can give a better payoff.

Re:Stupid thieves (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326157)

And where do you think the cash in ATMs come from? Hint:the bank. Banks still handle plenty of physical money, just not the amounts they used to. They may not have hundreds of thousands in cash on hand, but will certainly have more than a supermarket. How many customers at a supermarket pay cash?

Re:Stupid thieves (4, Informative)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326337)

No, the cash in an ATM does not come from the bank. It comes from a cash vault at a central depository in secured canisters via an armored car. Nobody at the branch (including the armored car delivery guy) physically touches any of the cash that goes into the ATM. The people at the depository are guarded by guns; robbing a depository would be a bit more difficult than robbing the cash from a drawer at a branch bank.

Re:Stupid thieves (4, Insightful)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325761)

"Which is the greater crime, to rob a bank or to own one?" --Bertold Brecht

Re:Stupid thieves (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326173)

The answer is to rob a bank of-course.

Owning a bank is a business, like any other, except when government gets involved, guarantees the debt that is taken (FDIC), guarantees the credit and loans that are given out (FHA, F&F), creates environment where giving out fake loans is profitable (Fed, IRS, FHA, F&F, FDIC, HUD, all of this).

Banks are businesses, saying that a business is 'crime' is strange at least, since people use them voluntarily (until again, gov't makes it impossible not to use one).

The true questions should be: "which is a greater crime, to rob a bank or to rob the country to subsidise a bank?"

Re:Stupid thieves (3, Informative)

dmt0 (1295725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326283)

except when government gets involved...

You mean this government [wikipedia.org] ???

Re:Stupid thieves (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326287)

saying that a business is 'crime' is strange at least, since people use them voluntarily

People get into Ponzi schemes voluntarily too. I don't think this is a good argument.

Re:Stupid thieves (3, Interesting)

lcam (848192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325821)

>> Give a person a bank, and the can rob a country.

If you look at the USC 1-201 (4) a bank is "means any person engaged in the business of Banking."

If you understand banking as the holding and trading of notes or other instruments, we are all banks. And since we most often trade notes or instruments that are issued or backed by the Federal Reserve Bank, our banks are technically all subsidiaries of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Has anyone here ever tried exchanging notes or instruments that are of your own creation? Most of you have, though you might not have noticed. I am not talking about mocking something up to appear as something it is not, that is fraud.

The point being, the power a bank has is mostly just our faith that their is something of real value the banks have that we want. The real power is in the ability to reach out and connect with people.

Give me all your money! (0)

realilskater (76030) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324603)

I'm first does that mean I get more than $19k for this stick up?

Re:Give me all your money! (2)

zidium (2550286) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324783)

Looks like you missed being first by a few seconds, haus.

Re:Give me all your money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324887)

I give him credit for trying though. At least it's not one of those "clean my pc" adverts that have been trashing the comments.

Intelligence not a factor? (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324607)

I RTFA but I didn't see any reference to the general intelligence of the robbers. From what I've always understood, intelligent bank robbers are generally not caught while those who just wandering into a bank with a paper sank and a finger gun end up getting busted quickly. You know, because they make it obvious who they are.

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (5, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324667)

Intelligent bank robbers get government bailouts, and don't go to PMITA prison.

Silly bank robbers use a mask and a gun, and have much worse outcomes.

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324737)

Real criminals use the force [cnn.com] .

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324853)

This.

They can't just slap a single probability on a type of crime like this.
There are so many varying factors in getting caught, intelligence being a huge game changer.

There are so many ways you could probably successively rob a bank, if even only some of it, that it goes without saying.
The reason most smart people don't is they are usually better than this and go legit.
Fear of being caught, in this case, is actually the stop sign for the rest of these people.
Then there is the small group, the ones that might actually go over the figures and say "okay, I have less than a 6% chance of being caught if I do this right, let's do this!"
Some might just laugh at the thought and go on with their day at the office.
Most robberies are morons who watched too many films and thought it was that easy.
Robbing is a dodgy business and stupidly stressful, more so than an office job at a high position.

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325267)

They can't just slap a single probability on a type of crime like this.
There are so many varying factors in getting caught, intelligence being a huge game changer.

Of course you can, just like you can slap a single probability on the chances of getting cancer, even though there are many factors that affect and even dominate an individual's chances.

That's the way statistics work. They tell you the average, but any individual trial (whether in the sense of a bank robber's take or a roll of the dice) may fall far outside of the average.

Of course when talking human behavior you the individual have control over some of the factors so you shouldn't just go with the statistics like you would at Vegas. Which is what most criminals seeing this statistic will do -- tell themselves that they are above average and can make bank robbery pay off. Of course they aren't going to get caught. They're too smart.

And then 20% of them do and become another statistic.

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (2)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325899)

This is why including a standard deviation is just as important as a mean when quoting a statistic. It's also nice to know specific outliers, for reference purposes.

In this case, the stats say the average robber is caught 19% of the time. Does this mean that all robbers get caught 19% of the time? Maybe it means that the vast majority of robbers people are caught 99% if the time, and there's one really slick cat (I'm thinking the cat burglar guy from the Simpsons; that guy was a shifty shifter, f'reals) who's still rollin along, taking ass and kicking bank, that brings the average down?

No way to know with just the mean, so it's kind of a worthless number all by itself. The mode, you say? That's a delicious way to have a la pie.

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326047)

This comment is such delicious transpositionbeep.

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (1)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326265)

I really hope you mean my "taking ass and kicking bank" phrase instead of that I got my statistical terms backwards. The former was intentional; the latter would just be embarrassing. I'll also assume there's a swear behind your beep, because I'm feeling pretty down today. I'm very glad you agree that Pie a la Mode is tasty though!

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326351)

I WILL PIE ALL OF YOUR EATS, GOOD SIR.

And my beep was a beep of delight. Ain't no profanity up in here.

Feel up instead! You're clever and you deserve it. :D

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326181)

Most robberies are morons who watched too many films and thought it was that easy.

Unfortunately it is in fact pretty easy. Probably easier in the US than in the UK. (small fish, bigger pond). But the take is much smaller.

With 20% chance of getting caught (in the UIK), and only two robberies needed per year to make a living wage, it would seem that anyone taking half a year to plan a job would stand nearly zero percent chance of getting caught, and would be able to time it such that their average take would be substantially higher than 19k. Parlay your experience into one robbery per calendar quarter and you might be able to live fairly well, as long as you move around the country.

In the US, oddly, the take per robbery is much smaller [masslive.com] than the 19K mentioned in the British study. The average haul, $7,732 in 2009 and $7,663 in 2010.

Further, the chance of getting caught is much higher in the US. In fact, the clearance rate for bank robbery is among the highest of all crimes—nearly 60 percent [popcenter.org] .

However, it also appears that in the US only in 22% of cases is there actually any money recovered (see first link). This suggests that every robber they catch "clears" multiple bank robberies, but only after significant amounts of money is spent, which implies the average robber may well get away with it for some time before getting sloppy enough to get caught.

A lot of interesting info is at the Center for Problem Oriented Policing site: http://www.popcenter.org/problems/robbery_banks/print/ [popcenter.org]

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324939)

>intelligence

>paper sank
>sank

hahah what?

Re:Intelligence not a factor? (4, Interesting)

Presence2 (240785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325793)

My suspicion is that the white collar or "intelligent" robberies are not included in the statistical sampling the authors were allowed to draw upon. Things like electronic fraud, employee skimming, loan fraud, etc - which net the culprits millions and are not made public because they impune upon the bank's integrity far more then some guy with a gun in his pocket.

Everyone already knew this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324647)

If you're doing any bank robbing it only pays if you're working for the bank.

If you're going to steal, steal big. The punishment is often nonexistent, and at worst you end up in a nice minimum security facility.

Re:Everyone already knew this. (1)

Sav1or (2600417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324757)

Or pull an office space style robbery. I've always wanted to do that.

Re:Everyone already knew this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324847)

Don't you mean Superman 3 style?

Re:Everyone already knew this. (3, Funny)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324923)

Not if you're stealing a red stapler.

Re:Everyone already knew this. (4, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324921)

If you're going to steal, steal big. The punishment is often nonexistent, and at worst you end up in a nice minimum security facility.

Yep. I recall a TV interview with I believe an ex-FBI agent discussing the "does crime pay?" topic. His answer was short and simple. "If you're going to do it, do it once and do it big." The smart criminals that do one and only one big job that sets them for life or years are rarely caught. It's the smaller-time ones that keep going back for more that end up getting caught.

Even at 20% odds, it probably makes sense. If you have a 80% chance of being set for life, vs a 20% chance of being locked up for a few years, it's easy to see where those with an obviously poor future consider crime.

Re:Everyone already knew this. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325433)

Yep, robbing a bank doesn't get you much.

If you want cash, the money is in an end-of-day armored car robbery. There's a high risk, and a good chance you're going to have to kill a few people, but the payoff can be millions. You're going to need a lot of surveillance time to find the routes, a biggish truck with a Faraday cage in case there's any tracking devices (and the same thing in your warehouse when you unload), and a good way to launder large quantities of cash. Wouldn't hurt to have several good radio jammers positioned, both for the armored car frequencies and the police frequencies, and that won't jam whatever you're using to talk to your partners. Might even have a few timed charges on the local police antenna towers. Probably need a crew of 4-5, at least 2 to deal with the driver and guard, one getaway driver and at least one surveillance guy. Remember, they're probably wearing body armor, so go for the headshot or if you're a great shot and don't want to kill, take out their shooting arm and legs, in that order.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Re:Everyone already knew this. (1)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325919)

Even if you get caught, if it's a considered high-value white-collar you get a long term country club visit. It's still not recommended as I'd rather be able to go places, but there's definitely a disparity in minimum and maximum security sentences.

Re:Everyone already knew this. (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326009)

That's the gist of what they taught in security class when I was a programmer for a bank, way back when. We called it "Bank Robbery 101" because it mostly just talked about ways in which banks had been robbed and how they fixed their procedures so that they wouldn't be robbed the same way again.

Re:Everyone already knew this. (0)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325085)

Some generations hence, people will tell stories to children where the mean, greedy third little pig is the villain because he did not build houses for the other two little pigs and the wolf.

Re:Everyone already knew this. (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325301)

Some generations hence, people will tell stories to children where the mean, greedy third little pig is the villain because he did not build houses for the other two little pigs and the wolf.

I think Ayn Rand already wrote that fairy tale. The difference was that when she tried it, it was over 1,000 pages long.

Re:Everyone already knew this. (4, Insightful)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326171)

850 pages of railroad references, 100 pages of John galt repeating the same idea over the radio using all the biggest words Rand could come up with, and 50 pages of Dagny getting banged by Hank, Francisco, or good old Johnny. The movie version would be 10 minutes of moderate porn, but you'd have to get through 90 minutes of the cable guy stompin around the living room first.

I was an A is A objectivist for a while; I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged the first time around. When I started seeing some personal success, I saw that hard work does not always equal success; many of the brightest and talented hard workers I knew got fucked, not rewarded, and it's often a crapshoot or who you know more than talent and hard work. You get up and try again if you're good at it and enjoy what you do, so that part is true, but talent doesn't rise simply because it's talented. Objectivism is an ideal, just like sharing the communist wealth means everybody gets a fair shake is an ideal.

It was a nice life lesson; I know now that anybody advocating the extreme is pushing an ideal on you, not a true way to live your life. Hard work, living a happy life, and helping others when you are both able and willing to do so is the way to go; and if you get some sort of crazy good benefits offered to you along the way, pounce like a puma.

The US Wins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324729)

I'll bet the average bank robber in the US does even worse. Then again we do have people in the US who can not get medical care and pull pseudo robberies and wait at the curb to be arrested. In America crime can be the only way to get health care.

Re:The US Wins (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324935)

Usually when I hear about bank robbers getting caught in the US, they were doing it to pay for their meth addiction. People on meth are extremely erratic - the tenant I had tore apart a giant teddy bear and tried to flush its head down the toilet and then ran around throwing bear innards everywhere. She lied that she had a job, didn't pay her rent until evicted, and left the place a mess. She also refused rehab (according to her mom, a coworker of my wife). Last I heard she was arrested for shoplifting.

The best way to rob a bank is to own one. (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324761)

The best way to rob a bank is to own one [amazon.com] . And it's only gotten better for the robber barons over the past 30 years.

Re:The best way to rob a bank is to own one. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325309)

A bank is a place where poor people store money instead of investing it.

Re:The best way to rob a bank is to own one. (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325339)

Investing is how the idle class siphons wealth from the productive class without actually doing anything of value.

Re:The best way to rob a bank is to own one. (1, Insightful)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325947)

Investment itself is a thing of value, by making capital available for productive uses.

Re:The best way to rob a bank is to own one. (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326163)

The capital would be available for productive uses if it were not hoarded by the idle classes.

Re:The best way to rob a bank is to own one. (0)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326329)

They're not hoarding it. They're investing it.

Terrible Business?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324787)

But that's where the money is!

Just Like the AppStore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324813)

A very few successful practitioners make a fortune; but most just waste their time building skills that will end up doing their career no favors, or perhaps even end up with major legal hassles.

Just like the AppStore.

Try Banking instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324833)

Or managing or consulting or exchange poker.

Because the legal crime does pay.

Doing The Math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324845)

So that's 4 jobs in two years, netting 80K, then flip a coin for jail. ...for your average robber.

Thus if you honestly believe your above average, aim a little higher, and stay in a little longer.

Re:Doing The Math... (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325377)

Actually, if you are robbing 4 banks a year, then you have 3 month prep time for each job. If you spend even part of that time for prep work, then you are WAY above average for a bank robber. In fact, the stats around a significant number of robberies are probably around people that did VERY little preperation. On top of that, there are probably people who did back-to-back robberies like idiots.

That "economists" need to be better statisticians. How much does it pay to rob a bank that you do at least a month's prep work for?

Re:Doing The Math... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325631)

That "economists" need to be better statisticians. How much does it pay to rob a bank that you do at least a month's prep work for?

There's no problem with the statistics. £19,000 per person is the total average. If well-prepared bank robbers make more than average, then badly prepared bank robbers will make less than average.

Re:Doing The Math...Not intelligence (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325523)

And remember it is not whether or not you are above average intelligence, you have to be an above average criminal to hopefully not get caught.

Re:Doing The Math...Not intelligence (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325805)

To do a variation on the old joke: "What? Are you crazy? Even if you plan extra hard, you can't outsmart the police!"

"No, but I can outsmart you."

Re:Doing The Math...Not intelligence (2)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326073)

Doesn't quite work.

A bear will quit once it has caught the slow person, while the cops will try to arrest every single person who is even remotely associated with a robbery. And those who they do catch will help the cops catch you so that they will get a shorter sentence for co-operating.

Only 20%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324863)

That seems kinda low in my opinion. Are they basing these stats off the video game "Payday"?

Re:Only 20%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325199)

Grand Theft Auto. As long as you keep running the police will never catch you.

Yes, but look at the benefits. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324885)

Free healthcare. Free room and board.

Oh wait, in the UK you don't have to go to jail to get that sort of thing.

Successful Bank Robbers... (3, Informative)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 2 years ago | (#40324937)

Know what you are doing [officer.com] .

In the US there are very few large scale organizations that are not businesses, and violence is bad for business; there is not that much of it. A good example of this kidnapping, extortion, protection rackets, are usually small-scale. There are other occupations that are safer and easier to gouge people out of money so it never reaches the scales that it does like in Mexico.

If the poverty line gets low enough combined with severe cuts in local services, it would not surprise me to see this trend be reversed.

Talent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324963)

Being a talented back robber can make you filthy rich. I'm a theft under a thousand kinda guy though ricky...

They are forgetting about the payout when caught (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40324987)

But once caught, they get free room and board for a good long while. How much is that worth to them?

Better be a con artist (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325033)

I remember a french DA on TV saying something like "if bank robbers were intelligent they'd go into the confidence trick business: more reward, less violence, less jail time if you're caught".

Re:Better be a con artist (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325279)

What, exactly, do you think everyone on Wall Street is actually doing? Of course it's a con game.

Finally, something to deter people from robbing ba (4, Funny)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325041)

I feel certain all persons considering robbing banks will study this statistical data and after due and sober consideration, be dissuaded from such high-risk, low-reward enterprise.

More bad economic math (1)

LasVeganLucy (2032428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325055)

How many British bank robbers declare the money they steal as income and pay income tax and insurance tax on it? 19K tax free is worth more than 19K before taxes.

Credit Cards and ATM's (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325063)

Willie Sutton once famously said he robbed banks "Because that's where the money is."

Not any more.

Credit cards mean banks no longer have the money.

ATM machines mean most of the money is locked away in safes - and spread out over many branches, convenience stores, etc.

Re:Credit Cards and ATM's (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325303)

The money is in retirement and institutional accounts. That's why there are so many people who are filthy rich from "working" Wall Street.

Re:Credit Cards and ATM's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325529)

ATM machines mean most of the money is locked away in safes - and spread out over many branches, convenience stores, etc.

ATM machines? Those things you use your PIN number on? OMG God!

Re:Credit Cards and ATM's (5, Funny)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325739)

ATM machines mean most of the money is locked away in safes - and spread out over many branches, convenience stores, etc.

This [wikimedia.org] is an ATM.
This [aliimg.com] is an ATM machine!

So you won't find any money inside of an ATM machine. ATM machines only build ATMs, so they are full of ATM parts. If you are after money, you should more likely go after the ATM itself.

And knowing is half of the battle!

Re:Credit Cards and ATM's (3, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325913)

I don't see anywhere to type in my PIN number on that ATM machine. Hell, I don't even see an LCD Display, so where are my menus? Terrible HMI interface.

Obvious solution to make it more lucrative (0)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325069)

I've always maintained that the biggest risk - once you've robbed the bank - comes from the evidence.

You're carrying around an enormous amount of cash; if the police come knocking, search your house and find it - you're going to have a lot of trouble explaining why exactly you keep £10,000 in used £20's in a cardboard box in the bottom of your wardrobe.

Solution? Rob a branch of your own bank - and once you've taken the money, deposit it directly into your account.

Re:Obvious solution to make it more lucrative (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325337)

Just tell them you're working for Senator Bob Dole. He takes out that much cash every couple of weeks so that nobody can track what or how he spends his money.

found my future job.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325133)

now i found my future profession, thanks slashdot!...

assuming jail is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325259)

Freedom in the UK is overrated, and jail underrated. As long as land is privately owned, it's all a big prison, and it's just a matter of how high and how far the walls lie.

I've been to a category B prison. It's really not that bad. You do your time; you get out; you carry on. Is it worth the risk? If you can cope with it, of course it is. And there's nothing honourable about obeying the law for its own sake - indeed, robbing from one of the clearing banks is the moral option.

On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325283)

If you're just looking for some quick cash, you'll have much better odds of getting away with a few thousand dollars than if you, say, buy a lottery ticket or go to a casino.

Re:On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325471)

If you're just looking for some quick cash, you'll have much better odds of getting away with a few thousand dollars than if you, say, buy a lottery ticket or go to a casino.

I'm not sure. I guess in a casino, you'll find more cash to rob. :-)

Lack Of Professionalism (1)

cmholm (69081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325345)

The vast majority of bank robbers are unlikely to have developed a career plan, and sufficient training and study to buttress it. Rather, they tend to be running on desperation. When someone(s) go on a bank robbing spree, it's usually a sign they've reached some sort of crisis in their lives, and aren't really thinking things through.

Pervasive video surveillance makes life difficult for the modern retail robber, just as it would for traders making heavily leveraged bets at trading desks in the CBD offices. But, who'll hit the silent alarm when they see someone make a trade that's almost certain to lose a couple billion (your unit of currency here)?

Successful robbers don't go in through the front door, that's amateur hour. The pros put in the work to tunnel in.

Ignores who is robbing the bank (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325439)

The trouble is many criminals are criminals because they haven't got the good upstairs to support more gainful employment. Has anyone done a study to determine how the intelligence of those convicted of bank robbery and related crimes compares with society as a whole?

My guess they are below average. So its no surprise they are not terribly successful at it. Its not likely they'd be terribly at anything that requires deep analysis. Its sorta like how robbers always love guns that use clips. If you going rob a bank for heaven's sake load up your belt with revolvers. You don't want be leaving cartridges behind everywhere.

Effectiveness over time (1)

halfkoreanamerican (2566687) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325453)

I wonder if this study takes into account the robbers increasing in efficiency and effectiveness with each successive robbery. I know they have a 1 in 5 chance of being caught, but is their 10th robbery as sloppy as the previous 9? I tend to get better at my job, but does this apply to bank robbers? This is likely assuming they don't raise the stakes with each successive robbery, which they tend to do.

Re:Effectiveness over time (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325551)

I wonder if this study takes into account the robbers increasing in efficiency and effectiveness with each successive robbery. I know they have a 1 in 5 chance of being caught, but is their 10th robbery as sloppy as the previous 9? I tend to get better at my job, but does this apply to bank robbers? This is likely assuming they don't raise the stakes with each successive robbery, which they tend to do.

If the average bank robber in the average bank robbery has a 20% chance of being caught, and if bank robbers get better and less likely to be caught with experience, then it follows that your chances at getting caught in your first robbery are much higher than 20%.

Re:Effectiveness over time (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325637)

But as a potential career, it doesn't really make sense unless you can find a successful bank robber who you can trust to show you how to do it without getting caught. If you were starting out on your own, you chances would be better than 20% of getting caught on your first try. Also, if you develop a particularly effective method, it's only a matter of time before the banks catch on, so you'd have to be an innovative thinker to stay ahead of them.

There are better, more dishonest unskilled ways to make a living. You could become a chiropractor, or an auto mechanic, or something like that. And if you can go to college, there are all kinds of better ways to make a dishonest buck.

still better odd than (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325459)

Three UK economists got access to national data on bank robberies... Average take is about $19k per person per robbery.

... getting paid off with a degree in Economy

Crime pays. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325511)

Of course, it pays the banks more than the bank robbers. Same basic principle though.

If I were going to turn criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40325535)

I think I'd deal pot before robbing a bank. Here in California it's quasi-legal via the "medical" weed. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting somebody who can get you started growing. It's a bit messy though.

If you're just talking pure money crime, counterfeiting paper money at the train ticket vending machines is tempting; but you have to realize the station is under surveillance and the vending machine probably timestamps ticket sales. Walking around a train station in a ski mask is suspicious. They would catch you eventually. Passing counterfeits to clerks takes nerves of steel, and it's a Federal crime so I think I'll pass.

Purse snatching. People that do that are real low-lifes; I think I'd rather panhandle. Fake a mental illness if you have to, but never fake veteran status. The real homeless vets will chew your face off.

unskilled labor (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325661)

Robbery to me is largely an unskilled profession. Skilled persons can scam and get cash in a much less risky manner. When I was younger I took scrap metal that was not absolutely mine, though did not steal it, and sold it. My friends in retail had many strategies. Of course some bankers are the ultimate skilled thieves, billions in the US savings and loans scandal of the 90's, continuing theft by the general financial industry in the US and worldwide. All legal enough that few are prosecuted. If one thinks that college does not pay, ask Madoff. He had to take the fall, but his family is better off than many of the clients.

So the question is bank robbery good for unskilled labor. Lets say that you pull five jobs in a year, get convicted for the last one, and get five years in prison. The robber is in jail, room and board taken care of, but the family might have 80K in unreported funds. If they are somewhat smart, they will get government assistance as well as the 13K a year average. OTOH, if the robber is less responsible they have had a lifestyle for a year that few unskilled people can have. And only worked a few weeks at most.

Sure for those of us with jobs and skills it seems a bit silly, but there a lot of people for whom 20K seems like a fortune. This is why I think that such analysis are not very useful. It does not speak to the basic root fo the crime.

Who did the math? (1, Funny)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325731)

Did the same banker who calculates interests calculate the changes of getting caugh.
One raid, 20% change of getting caught, you need two raids a year, and that increases changes to over 50%, WTF!?

Re:Who did the math? (4, Informative)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325979)

One raid, 20% change of getting caught, you need two raids a year, and that increases changes to over 50%, WTF!?

TFA claims that doing two raids a year gives you a greater than 50% chance of getting caught within 2 years (i.e., 4 raids). Let's check the math...
After 1 raid you have a 100% - 20% = 80% chance of eluding capture.
After 2 raids, it's 80% ^ 2 = 64%
After 3 raids, it's 80% ^ 3 = 51.2%
After 4 raids, it's 80% ^ 4 = 40.96%
100% - 40.96% chance of not getting caught = 59.04% chance of getting caught, which is in fact over 50%.

Re:Who did the math? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326035)

Not sure if you're really bad at math, or just really bad at reading, but the math works. 20% chance per robbery, two robberies per year, does indeed lead to a greater than 50% chance of being incarcerated in just two years, as the summary correctly states.

Three Hots and a Cot (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325945)

Average take is about $19k per person per robbery. But, there's a 20% chance of being caught per raid.

$19k per job plus a 20% chance of winning free room and board for a few years doesn't sound so bad. Sign me up!

There is a reason for that (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40325951)

According to the FBI, most bank robberies are not planned and most of the planned robberies are poorly planned. Most bank robbers get away with little and are caught quickly. Basically, there are two kinds of bank robbers, smart bank robbers who get away with a lot of money and rob many banks and the stupid bank robbers who need money and decide to rob a bank because that is where the money is.

I'm Confused.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326139)

...if bank robbing is such a terrible business then why do the banks continue doing it?

Quality of Life? (3, Interesting)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40326225)

I'd argue that the quality of life for bank robber is FAR better than the average office drone. They only have to work a few hours a year for their pay check...
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