HOOTS! Bank Robberies Commonplace

dino_on_bikeFirst, bank heists are a big problem in Philly and nationwide in recent months.

Then read about a bank robber on a bicycle in Camden.

“Bad times are big times for bank heists”

In these tough economic times, more and more people have resorted to robbing banks. The FBI’s Philadelphia Division has noted a 30% increase in the number of banks robbed in eastern Pennsylvania and several counties in New Jersey over the last year. Increasingly, those committing the robberies are not hardened criminals but they are people in need of money to pay bills, most without criminal records. The trend is seen across the nation, according to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who recently attended a meeting with other big-city police chiefs in Washington, D.C. The average amount stolen nationally is between $1,000 and $4,000. The punishment for robbery can include up to 20 years in prison.

This article from the Daily News sheds light on part of the nationwide recession’s regional impact. The writer does a good job of putting the increasing number of bank robberies in the area within the larger context-the nation’s poor economy. Providing readers with the bigger picture will enable them to see the tangible effects of this problem. The writer also is sure to draw the distinction between career criminals and individuals who have turned to robbery as a way to survive. Not seeking to justify committing a crime, this is important because it makes it clear to readers that not everyone who resorts to this is attempting to fund some other criminal enterprise. The article includes a graphical presentation of the robberies from eastern Pennsylvania and several New Jersey counties, giving the date and location, and the text gives further information on what individuals can expect if caught and what citizens can do to help the police. My only point of negative criticism is that the only sources included were from officials, including the Philadelphia police commissioner and FBI agents. It would have been additionally helpful to include information from less official sources, like individuals and activists more familiar with helping families and people in economic crises.

-Rachel Ross

Being an addict for short, sweet, funny news, I loved this article. It was pretty much to the point, and even got me wanting to follow the story for days to come. The title was enough, Bike-riding robber hits third Camden County bank. Sure, it was only three paragraphs, but that’s all I needed to find out there were three bank robberies, by some wacky dude on his stellar bicycle, in an Old Navy sweatshirt (probably not the best publicity for Old Navy). Yet he was still too slick to be caught by the Camden police? I think there’s a bigger story here.

-Litty Samuel

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