Bank robbery needs to be treated more seriously

Published Jun 19, 2013 at 7:14 am (Updated Jun 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm)

Particularly as one that shopped at the Strabane Square Giant Eagle in recent days, the story of the brave man that lost his life in attempting to stop a robber at its Citizens Bank branch is horrifying, but not entirely surprising. It was only a matter of time.

I have long felt that our society does not regard this widespread crime with sufficient seriousness. It is reasonable to conclude that those who rob banks are armed, desperate individuals with a depraved indifference to human life, and that if anyone threatens to stop them in the commission of their evil act, that they will respond with lethal force. There have even been instances in which robbers are permitted to get away with their loot unimpeded, but have engaged in gunfire anyway.

Prison sentences that I have studied for those found guilty of this crime have often been ridiculously lenient, and recent history contains the case of a young woman (who happens to be attractive) that was “sentenced” to probation by Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Manning purportedly because she had been a teacher and because she could assert that “drug addiction made me do it.” I wonder how those in the bank that were terrorized by this robber and her similarly good for nothing boyfriend feel about such a sentence.

An additional component in making bank robbery easy is the unwillingness of most banks to properly secure their facilities. Most banks have no security officer present, and even if one is present, the individual is certainly not there to stop someone in the commission of a robbery or to begin shooting at the perpetrator. One method of advanced security enables the outer doors of the bank to be locked as the robber is attempting to escape, trapping the criminal between doors with bulletproof glass until police arrive. Why is this crime-fighting tool and deterrent not adopted by all bank branches?

If bank robbery begins to be regarded with the seriousness that it deserves, it will be a good thing, but it is tragic that a good man’s life was sacrificed before that could occur.

Oren Spiegler

Upper St. Clair

Bank robbery needs to be treated more seriously

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