Statistics Finds No Life of Luxury in Bank Robbery

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If for some idea you thought robbing a bank was a smart idea, we’d urge you to reconsider.

Not only is bank robbery so last century, but the payoff’s not even that great. The journal Significance crunched the numbers and concluded that “crime does pay — but not very much,” hauling in an average of £30,000 in the U.K. and much, much less in the U.S. at $4,330 (sorry to report, ‘mericans).

A single bank raid, even a successful one, is not going to keep our would-be robber in a life of luxury. It is not going to keep him long in a life of any kind. Given that the average UK wage for those in full-time employment is around £26 000, it will give him a modest lifestyle for no more than 6 months. If he decides to make a career of it, and robs two banks a year to make a sub-average income, his chances of eventually getting caught will increase: at 0.8 probability per raid, after three raids or a year and a half his odds of remaining at large are 0.8×0.8×0.8=0.512; after four raids he is more likely than not to be inside. As a profitable occupation, bank robbery leaves a lot to be desired.

Ways to improve the take-home include adding a gun (increasing the value by £10,300.50 on average) or gang member (£9,033 per additional gang member).

“It is worth noting that the criminals themselves seem to have learnt this,” Significance wrote. “Robbing banks is no longer what you could call the crime of choice.”

With more advanced security, bank robberies and attempts have been on the decline in both the U.S. and U.K.

Image: Saucy Salad/Creative Commons

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