Banks with Armed Guards more likely to Experience Violent Robberies

Thursday, December 11, 2014
Guard held at gunpoint in a bank lobby (photo: AP, FBI)

Armed security guards in banks are not a common sight these days, which might be just as well according to data showing the risk they pose during robberies.


Using statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) concluded armed guards triple the chance of violence occurring when a bank is robbed.


After reviewing 31,000 bank “incidents” from 2007 to 2011, CIR determined “guards with guns” were “the strongest factor in whether the situation turned violent, and this held true even when controlling for other factors.”


Most of the violence was focused on the guards themselves as those carrying firearms had an injury rate of 64 for every 1,000 incidents, “compared with less than 1 injury per 1,000 incidents when they were unarmed,” CIR’s Ryan Gabrielson and Shoshana Walter wrote.


Glade Johnson, who owns a security company in Georgia, won’t provide armed guards. “Personally, my company doesn’t do any armed work,” he told CIR. “None of the clients I have want armed officers. When they ask for them, my first question is always, ‘Who do you want us to shoot?’ And they say, ‘Nobody.’ So let’s not put guns on them.”


The investigation also found that only 2% of the 31,000 incidents included armed guards.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

FBI Bank Robbery Data Shows Armed Guards Increase Risk Of Violence (by Ryan Gabrielson and Shoshana Walter, Center for Investigative Reporting)


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