“Why rob a bank?” That’s the question posed by FBI Agent Beth Boxwell at a recent Financial Crimes Investigators of Madison (FCI) meeting. The answer? It's easier for many criminals because banks are a known entity versus robbing a gas station or other business. They understand there likely will be a higher amount of cash and that staff are trained to get criminals out of the bank as soon as possible.

On the other hand, bank robbers are more likely to be captured. At nearly 60%, bank robberies have one of the highest clearance rates of all crimes.

Bank robbers are usually serial or repeat offenders and tend to be associated with other violent criminal activity, according to the FBI.

The FBI categorizes bank robberies into four categories:

  1. Note Job – Any robbery which involves the criminal passing a note to the teller. If you can do it safely, the FBI recommends keeping the note as it can help with their investigation.
  2. Takeover-style – Technically, every bank robbery that takes place within the bank falls into this category because the criminal is literally taking over the branch.
  3. Bombs or bomb threat – This is the rarest of bank robberies as most criminals aren’t using explosives or the threat of explosives during the event.
  4. Drive-through – This is a growing category within bank robberies as more criminals are literally using the bank’s drive-through to make their demands.

It is critical that all bank employees are trained in case their bank is targeted by criminals. The FBI offered the following tips below for bankers. While many bank security officers already take these steps (and more), the tips are a good reminder and give insight on the perspective of law enforcement on some of the steps you can take to make your bank safe.

Bank Robbery Prevention Tips

  • Follow your company’s opening and closing procedures.
  • Be observant before opening and after closing bank.
  • Do not allow any unauthorized person(s) in bank when closed.
  • Be observant of all suspicious person(s) loitering within or near bank.
  • Report suspicious person or activity to supervisor.
  • Do not share bank information, policies, or security features with anyone.

During a Bank Robbery

  • Follow the bank’s procedures in complying with the robber’s demands.
  • Be observant and note the robber’s physical description, facial features, clothing, and distinguishing features. Note what the robber touched while in the bank. In short, try to be a good witness.
  • Don’t try to be a hero.

After the Bank Robbery

  • Witnesses should try to observe the robber’s escape method (i.e. on foot or by vehicle) and the direction traveled. If by vehicle, note the description of the vehicle.
  • Bank employees should call the police to confirm the alarm and secure the robbery scene.
  • Immediately lock all doors and try to keep any witnesses in the bank until law enforcement arrives.
  • Witnesses should not discuss their observances with others and should not view surveillance tapes or photos.
  • A list of all employees and customers present during the robbery should be provided to law enforcement.
  • Minimize contact with the media and refer any media inquires to the FBI media representative in the local FBI field office or police department.
  • If a bomb was used during the robbery, do not use any electronic devices (such as alarms, cell phones, hard line phones, and two-way radios), as these may trigger the bomb. Evacuate everyone from the immediate vicinity of the bomb and call law enforcement from a safe location.

Most importantly, the safety of bank employees and customers is the number one concern for both the bank and law enforcement. All training should be designed and implemented with that goal in mind.

By, Amber Seitz


We have seen many changes in our country over the last year. In what seems to be an ever-increasingly violent world, what can we do to protect ourselves? Robbery is one of the most feared crimes for bank employees. In this session, we will reveal the facts about robbery, discuss current trends, and provide step-by-step guidelines for effective prevention, safe response, and dealing with aftereffects. What makes one location more favorable than another in the eyes of a robber? What can we do to deter robbers from choosing our office? We will not only cover these topics but also the basic life-saving steps employees should take to remain safe when faced with a bank robber. Every employee can play a role in prevention, and it is critical that all personnel are prepared and trained in the safest response methods. Additionally, we will examine recent cases and discuss the latest trends. Attendees will learn various methods used by these criminals, how their observations of the event can be critical, along with essential actions to take following a robbery. Employees of financial institutions must recognize the risk that exists but understand that knowledge and training are vital to surviving the event safely.

Covered Topics

  • Current trends in robbery
  • Making your location more attractive to customers and less attractive to criminals
  • Physical security measures to reduce your risk
  • Safe opening procedures
  • Considerations at closing time
  • Examination of recent cases of robbery/kidnapping
  • Protecting you, your employees, and your family
  • Bank robbers: in their own words
  • Responding to different types of robberies
  • Latest robbery statistics
  • The high cost of complacency
  • Morning glory robberies
  • Proven methods of prevention
  • Are you putting yourself at risk?
  • Habits that endanger

Who Should Attend
Anyone who could be involved in a robbery.

Instructor Bio
Carol Dodgen is the owner of Dodgen Security Consulting. Since 1998, her company has been providing services for businesses, financial institutions, and government entities to include training, ATM lighting inspections, and security assessments. Before forming her company, Dodgen served as the security training officer for Compass Bank. She earned her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and spent several years as an adjunct criminal justice instructor. Dodgen is a nationally recognized speaker who has provided training for over 100,000 corporate, manufacturing, utility, law enforcement, and security personnel over the past 26 years. Dodgen earned her CPD (Crime Prevention Designation) and provides instruction on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), Workplace Violence Prevention and Response, Robbery Prevention and Response, and Personal Safety. Dodgen has recently produced several video and e-learning training programs.

In 2009, Dodgen was appointed by the governor to serve on the newly formed Alabama Security Regulatory Board and served for 6 years as vice-chair of this board which regulates the security guard industry in the state.

Registration Options
Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts $279

Available Upgrades:

  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD + $140
  • Additional Live Access + $75 per person