Barron's pointed out a bull market in bank robberies. It appears robberies in New York state have jumped 66% this year. There are now 30 robberies per month in the charmed Empire state. A little math indicates the average heist currently yields $12,270.
As an anthropologist hedge fund type, I am curious to see if this is a logical behavior. So I did a little digging. Here is a fun research paper from the Dept. of Justice on the topic.
We learn the following things:
- A death occurs in 30% of US bank robberies. (ah the right to bear arms in action)
- 60% get caught. (really not a very gifted lot on the job)
- Interviews indicate that most robbers would be satisfied with much less. (please, how un-enterprising. This is supposed to be a career not a thrill sport, where is the professionalism, the ambition and drive to get ahead?)
- The average heist takes 3 minutes or less. (minimal effort required really)
- Federal sentencing guidelines indicate 20 years. +5 with a gun. (leave the gun at home)
- 80% most are solitary offenders working alone. (This is good management, keeps the operating costs down and reflects the ultimate flat organization, very avant garde really.)
- 60% are unarmed and undisguised. (A touch of vanity and exhibitionism I suppose.)
- 58% of robbers escape on foot. (very eco friendly when you think about it, please no crass comments about political biases of tree hugging robbers).
- Robbed branches are more likely to be robbed again. One third of repeat robberies occur within 2 months of the original crime. (A recently robbed branch really isn't a place for a first date)
- Day of the week effect 25% of robberies occur on Friday. ( a thougtful tip for all you quant risk types on the look out for that little edge mentioned in the previous point.)
With a little math we deduce the following: from a probability perspective assuming 20 years and a 60% catch rate, this works out to roughly 175,200 hours of jail time * 60%/$12,270 or roughly $.116/ hour probability weighted wages for those working alone.
At $0.12/hour this type of work really doesn't pay. I mean isn't this the kind of work we outsource to China and look the other way in regards to human rights etc.?
This leads us to the conclusion that, to this day the best way to rob a bank is to either own or manage one. Thus the most effective disguise for a bank robber is most likely a suit and and a 1st tier (no state schools need apply) MBA. A far more suave costume than a balaclava and gun. I won't even comment on those slackers who don't even go with some fun disguise on the job.
Even a sub par Sr. VP of something or other could "Steal" $12k just by padding the expense account at a nice weekend mortgage risk management conference in Monaco or Gstaad with far less dire consequences than 172,000 hours worth of opportunity to meet new and interesting people. Note to the ethically challenged please choose your careers wisely and leave the gun at home. And if for some reason banking with its dry people isn't quite your thing, there is always politics.