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Although deposits in a bank are covered from loss by the FDIC, much of the money taken in a bank heist is only covered through a bank's private insurance. Often, these policies come with a high deductible, and claims made against the policy can raise a bank's premium. This gives the bank a strong incentive to prevent bank robberies from happening in the first place. Banks can institute a number of measures to stop robberies before they occur.
Install surveillance cameras. The most basic step that a bank can take is to record the activities on the main floor of the bank. Cameras should be highly visible, so potential bank robbers will know that their image will be captured.
Hire security personnel. Security, like the cameras, should be highly visible. Make sure the guards wear uniforms and are stationed in positions in which they can see everyone and everyone can see them. If possible, hire off-duty police officers or other guards licensed to carry weapons.
Install bullet-proof glass. Protective material should be installed between the cashier's window and the area where customers stand. This will prevent the likelihood of a successful armed stickup and protect the cashiers in the event of violence.
Keep cash out of sight and under lock. While tellers should keep some cash in their registers, most cash should be kept out of sight and under lock. Large amounts of cash should be kept in a vault under a timed lock.
Keep your building well-lit and visible from the street. If the activities inside a building are clearly visible to passersby, bank robbers may be more easily deterred. Install large glass windows for increased visibility.
Train staff. After you have installed all physical security measures, train staff in safety precautions and how to act in the event of a robbery. Standardize opening and closing procedures, and make sure that more than one employee is present in the building at all times.
Post signs stating that you keep little cash on hand and you have a security system. If potential robbers are informed that a bank has little money to steal and that they have a likelihood of being identified, they may choose another bank.
Vary your routes when delivering cash. When transporting money to and from the bank, carry it at different times along different routes. Change drivers frequently and don't stop along the way when carrying cash.
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.