Bank robberies declined 18 percent last year to their lowest point in at least a decade despite the recession, says USA Today. Bankers had anticipated that the sputtering economy would set off a new wave of holdups as more people became desperate for money. They say the combination of sophisticated new tactics – such as tracking fleeing robbers by satellite – appears to have made a significant dent. Brad Bryant, head of the FBI’s Violent Crimes and Major Offenders unit, said, “We haven’t seen robberies in which the person’s motive was that he got laid off and needed the money.”
Nationwide, robbers struck about 5,500 banks last year. They’re stealing less, too: In the first nine months of last year, robbers made off with about $30.5 million, down more than 25 percent from the year before. In Miami, banks give robbers cash implanted with a Global Positioning System tracking device; investigators can track the fleeing criminals from laptop computers in their cars. In Phoenix, agents have used electronic roadside billboards to show high-quality pictures of suspects within minutes of a robbery.