Bank robberies occur all over the world; however, financial institutions are not always uniform in their responses to them. Recently, I had the good fortune to train Japanese bankers on our methods of handling bank robberies. When comparing robbery methods used by American and Japanese robbers, differences were immediately evident.
For example, Japan has tight gun control laws, so bankers assume that any gun wielded by a robber is probably a toy. Tellers in Japan also respond to robberies differently: they are trained to throw a sphere containing ink at robbers, marking them for law enforcement to apprehend. In addition, tellers are provided with rods or staffs to hit the criminal with, if necessary.
So, are banks in Japan safer than those in the United States?
Well, maybe not. Remember that a gun is used to intimidate a victim and make him/her perform the action the robber wants. Removing guns from the equation simply forces robbers to devise new ways of intimidating tellers, and that's precisely what some robbers have done.
The method now being used in Japan is to throw combustible liquid on tellers. If a teller does not respond with the money or conform to the robber's request, a match is struck and the teller is immolated. The next teller in line is then, of course, more than willing to provide the robber with the money.
Bank robberies, though different in different parts of the world, always rely on intimidation and threats. No matter what system of defense we use, criminals will always find a new way to intimidate victim tellers to obtain cash.
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Copyright, 2002, BankersOnline. All rights reserved. First published on BankersOnline.com 8/2/02.
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