Despite one of the worst economic climates in recent history, the number of bank crimes fell sharply last year, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
There were a total of 6,065 violations of the Federal Bank Robbery and Incidental Crimes Statute, the FBI said. That's down 11 percent from 2008, when 6,857 violations were reported.
The FBI reported significant declines in all four categories of bank crimes: robberies fell 13 percent; burglaries were down 17 percent; larcenies declined 32 percent and extortions dropped 62 percent. The FBI said loot was taken in 91 percent of the bank crimes committed last year. That's unchanged from 2008. The total amount taken was valued at roughly $46 million, the bureau said.
More than $8 million was recovered and returned to financial institutions. The most common modus operandi, or method used, of bank robbers last year was the "oral demand," followed by the use of a "demand note," the FBI said. Firearms were the third most common MO and the use of a "weapon threatened" was the fourth. Perpetrators used or threatened the use of explosives during one incident of bank extortion last year, while robbers made threats by telephone during two other incidents, the FBI said.
The FBI said acts of violence were committed during 269, or 4 percent, of the reported bank crimes, including 75 instances involving the discharge of firearms, and 47 instances of hostage situations. Among those acts of violence, there were 21 that resulted in deaths, all of which were perpetrators.
Additionally, there were 140 injuries, and 94 persons were taken hostage. While nine officers were injured during the reported incidents, no law enforcement officers were killed responding to bank crimes in 2009, the FBI said.