Despite Tough Times, Oregon Bank Holdups Drop

Downward Trend Seen; Most Get Caught

POSTED: 10:56 AM PDT April 12, 2012    UPDATED: 11:08 PM PDT April 11, 2012 
BEND, Ore. -

A bank robbery at the Bank of the Cascades on the south side of Bend this week is weighing heavy on many people's minds, and not so much on some.

"The odds of encountering a bank robbery is so small," said Michael Coffman of Bend. "I also swim in the ocean in Hawaii, you know, and I don't expect to get eaten by a shark."

New numbers released Wednesday by the FBI in Portland show bank robberies are continuing to decline in Oregon.

"We certainly are on a downward trend right now" said FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele. "That's fortunate circumstances for local law enforcement and federal law enforcement."

In 2011, Oregon there were 110 reported bank robberies, down from the 130 holdups reported in 2010.

The peak in recent years was in 2009, when the state saw 187 bank robberies, the FBI said.

With a downturn in the economy many would assume that's why bank robberies spiked in 2009, the FBI says that's not the case.

"It's very rare that we see a bank robber who is robbing banks to make a mortgage payment," said Steele. "Most bank robberies are connected to drug crimes. Many bank robbers have drug addiction problems or other such issues."

Nationwide in 2010, nearly $43 million was taken in bank heists.

Of the 5,628 banks robbed, 91 percent of crooks got away with money. But it's not a crime the FBI says is very smart, or worth it.

"It's a crime where they are almost always caught, they get very little cash, and they pay a very high price for the cash they do get," said Steele.

Those are statistics that could put customers and businesses at ease, and give caution to those would-be robbers.