ROBBERIES- High-tech Solutions for Low-tech Crime
On Sunday, October 28, The Herald published an article headlined “High-tech tools foiling low-tech bank robbers” (http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20121028/NEWS01/710289921#High-tech-tools-foiling-low-tech-bank-robbers%0A).
The article points out that robbery is a high risk crime compared to the gain that the robber may achieve. Low level robberies usually net only a few hundred dollars compared to the average home burglary which nets an average of $1,700 in cash and goods.
Robbery is considered a crime of violence by the criminal justice system. Therefore, police pour more resources into solving robberies. Robbers use the threat of force and harm to coerce victims into turning over cash or valuables. The likelihood of harm both physical and psychological is very high during a robbery.
Local police have improved their communications among police agencies. They also have improved analytical tools and techniques that make their investigations more effective. Banks also have become better at prevention, by keeping windows clear (this allows outsiders to see into the bank easier, increasing risk to the robber), by having security officers onsite and by greeting each customer as they enter the building, by using sophisticated dye paks that identify stolen money and the robber(s) and by using digital video that provides suspect information quicker to police.
Note: Most burglars are relatively low tech when it comes to entering homes. They can easily kick in doors that do not have deadbolts or screws that are at least 3 to 3 ½ inches long. They can break windows for entry. Also, often, there are not many witnesses to residential burglaries.
Finding suspects can be hard. Detectives look for tips. A video of a stranger kicking in a door can be very helpful. Property crime detectives also have to prove that a burglary suspect has possession of stolen property.
If a victim can provide a description of property stolen from them, serial numbers where appropriate, pictures, detailed descriptions, then a property crimes detective can check with local pawn shops for the property. Also, you may have heard of victims checking ebay and Craigslist for their property. If they find it they can point that out to detectives. But, most of the time, the detectives do not have good descriptions of stolen property.
Currently, successful burglary prevention requires convincing the public to take actions on their own that takes away opportunities for burglars to steal by using techniques such as using deadbolt locks on front doors, and Charlie bars on sliding glass doors. And by giving a burglar the sense that committing crime in specific neighborhoods is risky. Homeowners can do that by posting signs where they have an alarm, placing cameras on their property, and participating in an active neighborhood watch that calls 911 whenever they see suspicious activity.