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Sunday, Aug 02, 2015

Banks must step up surveillance to stop robbers Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 11, 2013 at 07:52 PM

The images of two men entering Heartland National Bank to rob it Monday are all too common these days. Our banks in little ol' Highlands County seem to get hit fairly frequently. It's surprising that they are such easy targets and it would seem much better surveillance technology would at least help capture them after the fact.

Two armed robbers stole an undisclosed amount of money when they entered the bank and made off without being seen. One photo released by law enforcement is decent and shows one of the men's faces. Another photo shows a man with a covering pulled over his head.

We will admit that bank robbery photos are getting better. Not long ago, the images resembled some of those Bigfoot photos from the 1970s. They were of such poor quality it was impossible to identify bad guys, and sometimes if it was even a human we were looking at. There has been a marked improvement in bank camera technology, although there's still a ways to go.

What needs to happen is for much better video surveillance outside of banks to be installed. At least getaway vehicles and the direction they headed could be identified.

Of course, installing these cameras is expensive, but it's something that could be phased in over years. It would be an investment, but one with big payoffs, we believe.

In Europe, it seems like video cameras are everywhere. Police monitor multiple screens. Something like that would be impossible in more rural areas such as ours, but surely we could do a lot better.

No one wants our banks being hit and people getting away with it. Bank robbery is difficult to deal with from a law enforcement point of view. If only a few more eyes were out there watching — human or electronic — perhaps we'd see fewer of these incidents.