Once upon a time, Southern California wore the crown of thorns bestowed upon the bank robbery capital. Times have changed.
According to the Los Angeles Times, bank robberies in the area have dropped dramatically, reaching near-record lows last year:
The seven-county region covered by the FBI's L.A. office saw a mere 212 bank robberies in 2013, reaching a low not seen since the 1960s. That's less than a tenth of what it was at its height in the early '90s, when the region logged 2,641.
The Times adds that the San Francisco-area, which boasts a significantly smaller population, actually had more bank robberies last year:
The numbers have gotten so low, in fact, that for the first time in recent memory, the San Francisco region—with less than half the population—had more bank robberies last year, with 227. Other regions have also edged ahead of Los Angeles in recent years, including Atlanta. Compare that to 1983, when L.A. had more bank robberies than the next four regions—New York, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Sacramento—combined.
Technological advancements and increased security at banks can be attributed to the drop. Gone are the days when investigators used to have 35mm film from security cameras developed. Now, they get hi-res photos sent to them en route to the scene. The Internet also plays a role in investigations, as police can get the images out to the public with quickness and ease, aiding investigations. Furthermore, the addition of bulletproof plexiglass makes it more difficult for robbers to access bank tellers and money.
Penalties also play a role, as robbers are receiving longer sentences thanks to the state's three-strikes law and heavier sanctions for gun possession.
[via Los Angeles Times]