Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"...a warm greeting to a would-be robber eliminates psychological 'trigger points' "

I was reading an article in Forbes magazine today about the decline in bank robberies during the current recession. The reason: Wal-mart-sytle greetings:

Since 1979 the average number of bank robberies in the U.S. has been a dismaying 11 per 100 commercial bank branches. But in the past year, despite the recession, bank robberies are down to only 6 per 100. The industry gives lots of the credit to those overly friendly greeters who many banks have seemingly poached from Wal-Mart ( WMT - news - people ) stores.

Branches are now pressing guards, tellers and even branch managers to say hello and look every entering customer in the face. It makes customers feel welcome and crooks a bit intimidated. "The last thing a bank robber wants is to be noticed," says W. Douglas Johnson, head of security policy analysis at the American Bankers Association.

Using greeters to spook potential bank robbers has spread quickly since 2006, when a Seattle FBI agent, Lawrence Carr, included the idea in a widely disseminated program taught to bank security officers called SafeCatch. Carr, who spent five years studying bank robberies and interviewing crooks, argues that a warm greeting to a would-be robber eliminates psychological "trigger points"--confidence, anonymity, control over his fear--that the robber needs to go ahead with the crime.

I had noticed a warmer reception at banks lately. I just thought bankers had gotten friendlier but I guess they are just hoping you won't rob the place.



Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

Well, whatever it takes. After all, ammo has gotten mighty expensive!

4:51 PM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger Eneils Bailey said...

Isn't that something.
For the past couple of years, when I entered the bank, I just thought they were glad to see me.
Ummm, silly me.

5:16 PM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

So if a business is nice to the customer the customer might be nice back. This apparently is new information in the banking community.

5:58 PM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger Bob Sorensen said...

Mess with them. Years ago, Johnny Carson said to put a nylon stocking over your head, enter the bank and just stand there.

6:21 PM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger gs said...


After all, the banking community refers to people who pay off their credit cards every month as "deadbeats". Apparently the banking community views with moral indignation the proposition that 2% off the top of every transaction is an adequate return from such financially responsible (and thus creditworthy) customers.

6:22 PM, November 25, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

credit cards are a different issue than physical banks wherein a robber enters and attempts to steal money.

Used to be guards. For years they never or seldom ever were armed because now the bank's money is insured so employees warned not to resist the robber.

There is no real evidence here that greeters are responsible for the drop in bank robberies and thus there may be a reason for this we do not know about from this post.

8:06 PM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

it would be interesting to see whether walmarts get robbed any less than say, zellers ar k-mart.

the good old fashioned bank robberey is a dying art.

hey, maybe the girlzzz will pick up the torch where the pink-shirt boys have dropped it.

and i would imagine real bank robbery stats are hard to come by as banks and police would want to downplay them as best they can.

11:03 PM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

The bank branch I used to use which was in the building next to where I work and across the street from Cincinnati city hall was robbed three times in about 2 years. Two of those times by the same guy. The robbers were caught in less than an hour each time. (These robberies were well before the recession.)

A couple of years ago they moved to a branch with double entry doors, two sets - one set for entry and one for exit, with automatic metal detectors. I don't believe they've been robbed since, but visiting is much less pleasant and I go to a different branch most of the time now. I don't like standing between two doors wondering if one of the other will unlock and let me proceed.

11:18 AM, November 26, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the book "Why we buy," which came out years ago, the author explains that employees should greet everyone who comes into the store. It reduces shoplifting, probably because potential shoplifters realize they have been noticed and are being watched.

1:26 PM, November 28, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

i`m in the middle of reading that right now.....

3:46 PM, November 28, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

There is much more to the program, greeting is just one tool used by employees in the "Safe" prong of the program.

12:58 PM, November 29, 2009  

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