Crimes against financial institutions decline further in first half of 1983

Crimes against financial institutions decline further in first half of 1983

Peggy W. Daniels

Crimes Against Financial Institutions Decline Further in First Half of 1983

Crimes against all financial institutions declined almost 10 percent–the third consecutive decline–during the first half of 1983 to a total of 3,189, according to the most recent Federal Bureau of Investigation bank crime statistics report. The 3,189 figure is the lowest since the first half of 1979, when 3,127 crimes were reported. Crimes in the last 18 months have gone from 4,043 to 3,595 to 3,540 to 3,189.

All financial institutions’ totals declined, with savings and loan associations and commercial banks comprising the bulk of the decline. Commercial banks had the biggest decline (-208), going from 2,239 to 2,031, while savings and loans had a decline of -107, going from 1,109 to 1,002. Credit union crimes dropped by 24 to 82, and mutual savings banks’ declined by 12 to 74.


Robberies totaled 2,915 during the first half of 1983, and 8.3 percent drop from the previous half total of 3,182. All institutions’ robberies decreased, with commercial banks (-135) and savings and loans (-115) accounting for 93.6 percent of the decline. Commercial bank robberies amounted to 1,831, and savings and loan associations were robbed 956 times. Mutual savings banks and credit union robberies were much less: 72 and 56, respectively.


Burglaries had a 26.5 percent decline as financial institutions were burglarized 188 times, compared with 256 six months previously. All institutions except for savings and loan associations reported declines. Commercial banks had a significant decrease as burglaries fell from 188 to 131. Credit union burglaries also fell from 37 to 23. Mutual savings banks had no burglaries, down from two in the previous half. Savings and loans, on the other hand, had 34 burglaries, up from 29.


Larcenies declined 15.6 percent to 86 during the first half of 1983. Commercial banks had a decline of 16, as larcenies went from 85 to 69. Credit unions also had a decline, but not as large, as larcenies dropped from eight to three. Savings and loans associations and mutual savings banks, on the other hand, suffered increases in larcenies. Larcenies of savings and loans increased by 3 to 12, while mutual savings bank larcenies went up from 0 to 2.

State Breakdowns

States with the highest total crimes during the first half of 1983 were, in order, California (1,245), New York (255), Florida (151), Texas (146), and Oregon (95).

All, except Oregon (which replaced Pennsylvania), were in the same order in the previous half. States or territories with the fewest crimes were: Guam (0), Virgin Islands (0), South Dakota (0), and Vermont (1).

States with the greatest percentile decrease in total crimes were: Georgia (-50.0), Michigan (-43.7), Tennessee (-43.7), Washington (-33.7), and Pennsylvania (-33.3). States with the greatest percentile increase in total crimes were: District of Columbia ( 48.1), Massachusetts ( 24.4), and Oregon ( 24.3). New York had the biggest decline in crimes with -48, while Oregon had the biggest increase with 19.

States with the most robberies were: California (1,187), New York (241), Florida (121), Texas (103), and Oregon (95). New Hampshire and Hawaii had the greatest percentile decrease of -85.7 and -57.1 percent, respectively, while Oklahoma and the District of Columbia had the greatest percentile increase of 63.6 and 46.1 percent, respectively.

States with the most burglaries were California (30), Texas (18), Florida (17), Oklahoma (11), and Louisiana (10). Georgia, which went from 12 to 0, had the most significant decrease. Oklahoma had the most significant increase as it went from 3 to 11.

California led all states in larcenies with 9, followed by Florida (8), Texas (7), Pennsylvania (6), and Michigan (5). Ohio had the most significant decrease, going from 16 to 4, and Pennsylvania (going from 2 to 6) and Texas (going from 3 to 7) had the most significant increases.

States with the most Hobbs Act violations were California (19), Texas (18), and Arizona (11). Utah had the most significant decrease, going from 5 to 0; while Arizona had the most significant increase, going from 2 to 11.

Number of Perpetrators Increase

During the first half of 1983, perpetrators known to be involved in robberies, burglaries, and larcenies totaled 3,805, up from 3,318 during the second half of 1982. But this is the third consecutive time the figure has been below 4,000 since 1978.

So far, the FBI hs identified 1,816 persons, which accounts for 47.7 percent of those known to be involved. This is the lowest percentile in three years when 46.3 percent were identified during the first half of 1980.

The FBI found that 802 were narcotic users, a significant drop from the last report’s figure of 1,177 and the lowest since 726 during the first half of 1980. Also, 264, as with 436 in the last half, were found to have been previously convicted of a robbery, burglary, or larceny in federal or state court. This is also the lowest in three years in which 213 were previously convicted.

Perpetrators took loot amounting to $19.9 million, which is less than in the previous half in which $23.9 million was taken. Law enforcement officers so far have recovered only $2.6 million, which is even less than the $4.1 million recovered six months previously.

Deaths and Injuries Lowest Since Last Half of 1978

During the first half of 1983, 8 people were killed and 66 were injured during the commission of crimes. This is the lowest since the last half of 1978 when 9 were killed and 49 injured. During the last half of 1982, 14 deaths and 96 injuries were reported. Also, 60 people were taken hostage, as compared with 28 and 102 taken in the previous half and a year ago, respectively.

Of the eight who died, six were perpetrators, one was an employee, and the last a guard. Five of the deaths were attributed to law enforcement response, all to perpetrators. Two deaths (the remaining perpertrator and one guard) were the result of defensive action by employees, customers, etc., and the last death (employee) was the result of unprovoked action by perpetrators.

Of those 66 who were injured, 36–or more than half–were employees (21) and customers (15). The remaining injured were as follows: 12 perpetrators, 8 guards, 7 law officers, and 2 “others.’ Sixty-two percent were hurt as a result of unprovoked action by perpetrators. Of the remaining 38 percent, 21.5 percent were attributed to law enforcement response and 16.5 percent were attributed to defensive action by employees, customers, etc.

All but 10 of the 60 hostages taken during the first half of 1983 were employees (36) and customers (14). The remaining hostages were one guard and nine classified as “other.’ Over 75 percent were taken from inside the institution and the remaining from the residences, outside the institutions, or “other places.’

Hobbs Act Violations Increase

Hobbs Act violations for all institutions during the first half of 1983 rose from 85 to 95. Hobbs Act violations against savings and loan associations also increased, going from 6 to 9. A total of 74 persons was known to have been involved in those violations, more than the 70 reported in each of the last two reports but still less than 92 reported in the year-and-half-ago statistics. Loot was taken in 9 of the 95 violations, amounting to $532,813. This is a huge decline from the last half’s total of $1.99 million, but still more than the year-ago total of $56,984. During the first six months of 1983, 82.5 percent of the loot–or $439,791–was recovered by law enforcement officials in only four cases.

During commission of thses Hobbs Act violations, 3 were injured, 1 died, and 16 were taken hostage. The person who died was a member of an employee’s family; two of the three who were injured were employees; and a little over two-thirds taken hostage were family members of employees.

Fraud and Embezzlement Continue to Drop

Fraud and embezzlement investigations by the FBI on financial institutions dropped for the fourth consecutive six-month period, this time from 4,506 to 4,352. Savings and loan associations accounted for 356 of those 4,352 investigations among financial institutions, which is less than the previous half total of 405 and the year-ago total of 399. Five states, as opposed to six in the previous half, comprised the majority of S&Ls investigated: California (75), Illinois (35), Texas (35), Ohio (26), and Florida (24). The last report included all of the above, plus New York.

Losses from fraud and embezzlement dropped during the first half of 1983, reversing the trend that had been continuing for the last four semiannual reports. Losses totaled $161.1 million, compared with $228.9 million during the last half and $172.6 million a year ago. Losses suffered by savings and loans also declined–this time to $13 million. S&Ls’ previous losses were $22.3 million and $15.6 million in the last half and a year ago, respectively.

Table: Number of Crimes Against Financial Institutions

Table: Bank Robbery Statute and Hobbs Act Violations by States, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands

COPYRIGHT 1984 U.S. Government Printing Office

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