The era of bank robbers is completely over


The news is coming probably not as a shock. The development has long pointed in one and the same direction, but now the era of bank robberies not only looks to be over but also completely over. From four reported bank robberies in 2021, 2022 was the year when not a single one was reported, according to the Crime Prevention Council’s (Brå) statistics “It is in line with a trend that has been going on for the past few decades,” says criminologist Sven Granath. There are many explanations behind the drastic decline. Perhaps the most obvious: the reduced need for cash in society. For some, today it can be a challenge to even find an ATM or a bank office that handles cash. This also applies to the bad guys.”There simply isn’t that much to rob. That’s one thing,” says Sven Granath. “Then it’s a form of skills depletion. When the phenomenon decreases, there will also be fewer people who know how to carry out a robbery, and can transfer the knowledge to someone else. The reduction becomes a self-playing piano.”In the very first bank robbery in Sweden, one night in March 1854, it required no more cunning from the three robbers than to find out where the key to Östgöta Enskilda bank on Stora Torget in Linköping was. The hiding place? A hook above the doorframe. At that time, there was even a missing sentence for the crime. Since then, a lot has happened. From the fact that it was long enough to go to an office alone and force money, the security of banks gradually improved through less solitary work, more locked cash registers, surveillance cameras and other measures that made it more difficult to access The work also forced the robbers to develop, who over the years became both more skilled and more brutal. When the transport of valuables also began to become an increasingly sought-after prey in the early 1990s, the Swedish robbery wave would reach something of a peak. Between the years 1991-1993, almost 200 bank or transport of value robberies took place a year in Sweden, led by, among other things, the so-called Militärligan. at these robberies,” says Sven Granath. The more spectacular coup attempts – both successful and less successful – have spread over the years even outside Sweden’s borders. Like in 2009 when robbers landed with a stolen helicopter at the G4S valuables depot in Västberga outside Stockholm, or the August day in 1973 when Janne Olsson, armed with a kpist, entered the then Sveriges Kreditbank on Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm with a six-day long hostage drama as a result. That people, regardless of a touch of the Stockholm syndrome, do not look at bank robberies with the same judgmental gaze that other serious crimes have their explanations, says Sven Granath. institution that is considered very rich. There is a Robin Hood aspect to the whole thing in that way. A bank robbery in its perfection should also not involve any use of violence against any individual.” The fascination with bank robberies and the people behind the deed has followed ever since the beginning of the crime. In the USA, the legendary Jesse James is said to have been responsible for the first bank robbery in 1866. The house where it happened is today a museum and the gunslinger is still famous for his solid criminality, which has been filmed in Hollywood, among other things. The bank robbery has not only found its way into popular culture. Its status is even higher in the criminal world.” It has to do with the fact that it is a crime that requires discipline and planning. It requires control, not that you are power-controlled. You are not ruled by low impulses, unlike sexual crimes or a serious assault in the pub queue. There is almost a military romance about the whole thing, that you can hand out orders and so on,” says Sven Granath.In Sweden took the bank robbery final journey to the grave accelerated after 2008. After a year filled with many serial robberies, more and more bank offices in smaller, and often more exposed, locations began to close again. At the same time, the development towards a cashless society gained further momentum. The dismantling proceeded at such a furious pace that two years ago the Riksdag was forced to legislate on an obligation for the larger banks to continue to offer some cash handling for deposits and payments of invoices. According to Peter Göransson, security expert at the banks’ trade association Bankföreningen, the chain today, from The Riksbank via cash transports, depots, banks and vending machines until the money is in the hands of a customer, strengthened in a number of different ways.” from the cash transport vehicle to the place where the money is to be loaded. But it also has to do with better cooperation and more preventive measures between the companies and the police,” says Peter Göransson.According to the Swedish Banking Association, which maintains its own statistics on bank and cash-in-transit robberies, 2021 was already the first year in which no bank robberies were carried out in Sweden. When it comes to transport of cash, according to these statistics, only one robbery took place last year. Despite the historic decline and a current zero in the statistics, this does not mean that the danger of being exposed to a bank robbery is over, notes Peter Göransson. “The threat picture against banks and the transport of cash remains. Cash still exists, many believe it will disappear but it won’t anytime soon,” he says.

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