Bank robbery is no longer trending, but why?

Over the last few decades, bank robbery has decreased immensely. Richard Staring, Professor of Criminology at Erasmus School of Law, conducted thorough research into bank robbery in the 90s. Staring elaborates on modern bank robbery In the Alicante podcast; why is it not the go-to crime anymore, and which crimes have replaced bank robbery?

In the 80s and 90s, hundreds or thousands of bank robberies took place. Staring explains that there was an enormous wave of bank robbery. “It is unimaginable right now. The distress at money institutes and the government was also very severe; bank robbery went hand in hand with other violence, victims were not unusual, and sometimes people would even pass away.” Since then, banks and the government have changed a lot about the situation.

Nowadays, bank robbery has become a rare phenomenon. Staring states that this is due to security improvements. “I think this is irreversibly connected to the multiple measures that banks and instances have adopted. You can see that the risks of getting caught are higher now, the punishments are severer, and the security in objects mainly makes it harder to commit a robbery quickly.” A bank robbery is often based on a quick getaway, so these types of time-dilating security are very effective.


According to Staring, committing a bank robbery enjoys great prestige in the criminal circuit. “Talking about your robberies – about how well you did, how you managed to pull it off and prepared for it – contributes even more to the prestige. A successful bank robbery is proudly discussed and is highly respected in the criminal circuit. Moreover, bank robbers that have screwed up and have messed up their market, for example, by using unnecessary violence, make a bad name for themselves. Failed or badly executed robberies result in a lot of attention and police action, which is bad for the business”.

More information

Click here for the entire episode of the Alicante podcast (in Dutch).

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