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November 25, 2009 - 2:10 pm

I was a href=”http://www.forbes.com/global/2009/1130/ideas-bank-robbery-crime-how-to-reduce-robberies.html”reading an article in span style=”font-style:italic;”Forbes/span magazine /atoday about the decline in bank robberies during the current recession. The reason: Wal-mart-sytle greetings:br /br /blockquoteSince 1979 the average number of bank robberies in the U.S. has been a dismaying 11 per 100 commercial bank branches. But in the past year, despite the recession, bank robberies are down to only 6 per 100. The industry gives lots of the credit to those overly friendly greeters who many banks have seemingly poached from Wal-Mart ( WMT – news – people ) stores.br /br /Branches are now pressing guards, tellers and even branch managers to say hello and look every entering customer in the face. It makes customers feel welcome and crooks a bit intimidated. “The last thing a bank robber wants is to be noticed,” says W. Douglas Johnson, head of security policy analysis at the American Bankers Association.br /br /Using greeters to spook potential bank robbers has spread quickly since 2006, when a Seattle FBI agent, Lawrence Carr, included the idea in a widely disseminated program taught to bank security officers called SafeCatch. Carr, who spent five years studying bank robberies and interviewing crooks, argues that a warm greeting to a would-be robber eliminates psychological “trigger points”–confidence, anonymity, control over his fear–that the robber needs to go ahead with the crime. /blockquotebr /br /I had noticed a warmer reception at banks lately. I just thought bankers had gotten friendlier but I guess they are just hoping you won’t rob the place.

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