Armed Robberies ‘Reach Historic Level’

For a long time now we’ve been highlighting the alarming increase in the number of armed robberies in New Zealand, at one stage we made the comment that it must be the fastest growing occupation in the country (see Clendon Armed Robbery, a family business and Gunman threatens bank customers)

Last week’s violent robbery of the ASB Bank in Grey Lynn, in which both customers and staff were forced to the ground by gun wielding crooks, has alarmed both the banking community and the police, the latter saying the men are “considered dangerous.”

In a report in The Herald the robbery

“Follows what a senior bank manager has described as “probably the highest number in history” of such robberies across New Zealand last year.”

“Owen Loeffellechner, BNZ national manager security and fraud, said 84 armed robberies had taken place last calendar year.

“For the last nearly three years we have seen a trajectory upwards

Mr Loeffellechner said security staff from the various banks had been in a strategy meeting when the recent ASB hold-up occurred. They were constantly looking at ways to improve measures..”

We’ve got a list of all the armed bank robberies we could find last year, we counted 50 out of approximately 200 armed hold-ups. We’ve obviously underestimated the scale of the problem.

What’s causing this rise? Some think it’s due mostly to increased levels of hardship caused by the recession. Or could it be that banks and small businesses are seen as nothing more than easy targets by thieves who have no fear of being caught because prison is a warm bed and three square meals a day?