So, yesterday, the bank in my town got robbed. Not a "this is a robbery, put all the money in a bag" written on a note robbery, but a "waving a gun around in the air" robbery. Young kid, 18-24ish, suspected in a couple of other robberies in neighboring towns. This punk:
This is my bank. It has been my bank since the mid-1970s. Name's changed a few times as it has been bought and sold, going from a locally-owned bank to a chain, but the tellers are the same folks that have been there for years. I don't go in the bank all that often, with direct deposit and all, but still, this is a punch in the gut.
I live in a small town next to a moderate-sized city. Crime in my town is limited to petty vandalism, an occasional B&E on a house where the occupants are on vacation, and speeding cars. Our last murder was a domestic violence death in 1992; before that it was the early 1970s (and also domestic violence involving a town police officer). We're not often the victims of violence here in my sleepy little 'burb.
Point is, if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.
The idea of "crime doesn't happen here" or "this is a good area, you don't need to worry about protection" is a fairy tale. Crime doesn't stop at a town's borders, or respect certain zip codes. Sure, some areas have lower crime rates than others, but assuming that you're safe simply because of your location is little more than wishful thinking. Even in the best of areas, criminals can and will find their way in. Honestly, it's surprising it doesn't happen more often in the "good" areas simply because more people are likely to be in a lessened state of awareness.
Which brings to mind my point, the title of this post. Have a plan. This is a bank I patronize. It is possible I could have been in the bank when this happened. I suspect in this case I would have held back, at the ready but not drawn, and observed and been ready to act if something changed. He flashed the gun but was not pointing it at any one; if he started pointing the gun at patrons or tellers then the situation may require action.
I'll give the tellers credit here, though - the call came into the police station at 2:13 PM; the actual robbery happened at 2:15 PM. They saw this guy come into the bank in a hoodie and ski mask and hit the silent alarm immediately. Unfortunately he was gone by the time the police arrived a few minutes later, which drives home the frequent refrain that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Fortunately for all involved, he didn't actually assault anyone.
It could have gone much, much worse - I know I'll be keeping this scenario stored away for review the next time I find myself getting a little too complacent...
That is all.