Bank robberies in Austin, Tex., already have hit a five-year high, and police say it could get worse, says the Austin American-Statesman: Studies show the last three months of the year typically see a rise in bank robberies, mostly because of the pressures of upcoming holiday expenses. Austin has had 27 bank robberies so far this year, compared with 14 this time last year. Three people are responsible for more than one robbery, and in one case, a man robbed three different banks.
“It’s an alarming trend for sure,” said Brian Miller, who heads the robbery unit at the Austin Police Department. “They are in need of some quick cash, and to them, this is an easy way to do it.” In many cases, the money is spent as quickly as the robbers get it. Of the $45 million stolen across the U.S. last year, only 21 percent was recovered , says the FBI. In Austin, the figure was 10 percent. The typical bank robber is male – 1,339 men compared with 102 women in 2009 – and drug-addicted or often a person in debt. “Bank robbers tend to become repeat offenders,” says an FBI spokesman. “They hit a bank once, and there is a high likelihood that they will do it again.”