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Bank Robberies May Be Based on Addiction, Not Money

People may see bank robbers as desperate individuals who are strapped for cash, or greedy opportunists who don't think about making an honest living. While these notions may have some attached to them, money (or the lack thereof) is rarely the single factor in bank robberies. In fact, it could be the manifestation of an addiction.

William Rehder is a bank robbery expert and a 33 year veteran of the FBI. In tracking down a bank robber in Florida, he explained the common motivations that drive people to rob banks. Essentially, the vast majority of robbers are addicted to some type of drug, and stealing is a way to feed their addiction. They are generally not interested in hurting people (which is why people commonly use fake guns or unloaded weapons in hold ups).

Some may be addicted to the excitement of the act. The thrill of planning the right time to enter the bank, pressuring tellers to get the cash, creating disguises or distractions, and evading authorities) can be very addictive. This can lead individuals to rob again and again simply to satisfy their desire for the adrenaline rush.

Rehder also explained that economic conditions usually do not have an effect on a person's motivations to steal. Even through the latest recession, bank robberies across the country have decreased, according to the FBI. Between 2003 and 2011, bank robberies have dropped by 32 percent.

In sum, bank robberies are rarely just about money. They are manifestations of other personal problems that must be resolved.

Source: TampaBay.com: Ex-cop turned bank robber is a suspect again, October 13, 2012

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Gregory R. Gifford
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