How much does a bank robber get away with?
Filed under: Career
So just how poorly do bank robbers do?
The average haulThe figures were published in Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association. The academics had access to official figures from the British Bankers' Association for the first time. They found that the average thief escapes with £12,706 from a successful robbery (from an average total haul of £20,331 for the gang to share).
They also found that one in three attempts failed. This would mean that in order to equal the average wage, they would need to make six attempts a year.
Unfortunately for the would-be thief, on average he would be caught on the fourth attempt and sent to prison. Assuming they get off lightly with a five year jail sentence, that's £12,706 every five years - which is hardly a decent income.
External factorsThe more members of the gang, the less likely they were to get caught, the bigger the total haul, but the smaller the sum each criminal got for themselves.
The researchers also found that high tech security measures are increasingly effective. It found that security screens, which shoot up from the counter when an alarm is triggered, were the most effective preventative measure - reducing the chances of success by a third. However, they are only in place at 12% of banks. Professor Rickman of the University of Surrey. "This is useful information if we are thinking about how such activity may be combated in the future."
Is it worth it?The experts accept that for a criminal, it depends on how desperate you are for the proceeds, whether you are capable of earning an honest wage, and what other social benefits you derive from being part of a criminal gang, as to whether the benefits are worth the risks (and all that jail time).
However, it also goes to show that if you're going to be a wealthy criminal you can't be an average one... you have to do it well. A United Nations official said in April that crime generates $2.1 trillion across the world - making it one of the biggest 20 industries in the world. And you don't make that kind of money from a series of bungled bank robberies.