A new approach toward suspected bank robbers – called “customer service on steroids” by an FBI agent – may be one reason for a significant drop in bank robberies in the Seattle area, says the Seattle Times. Previously, employees were trained not to approach suspicious people and to accept the possibility they could be robbed. A teller could activate an alarm or drop an exploding dye pack into a robber’s haul of cash to make the getaway more difficult. One agent said, “I’ve interviewed bank robbers who believe it’s state law for tellers to comply with them.”
In “Safecatch,” the FBI says that bank employees can unnerve robbers, who generally try to remain as anonymous as possible when approaching a teller. The ploy targets “note jobs,” in which a robber passes a note demanding cash to a teller, and which account for 90 percent of Seattle bank robberies. The FBI credits Safecatch for a sharp drop in bank robberies. In the first three months of 2006, the Seattle area had 80 bank robberies, compared with just 44 this year.