Donation Us

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

F.B.I.’s Crime-Fighting Web Site Focuses on Bank Robbers

Bank robberies may be down from a recent peak, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation is nevertheless making a push to track down suspects, enlisting the public’s help through a new Web site.
The site, called BanditTracker NorthEast, features images of robbers in New Jersey and New York culled from security cameras over the past few years.
In a modern take on the “wanted” notices adorning post office walls, the site also includes information about the suspects in question, like their heights, races and builds. Telephone numbers are provided so people can call if they think they know the whereabouts of a suspect.
In the past, it took F.B.I. agents a few days to prepare these types of posters and similar announcements about bank robberies. With that lag, information was sometimes not mentioned on a local newscast because the story had been deemed old, said F.B.I. agents who unveiled the site on Wednesday at a federal office building in Lower Manhattan.
Now, because images can be posted online within hours of the crime, possibly even from a bank that is robbed, it means agents might be able to arrest robbers still making their getaways.
Spectrum Management, a technology company based in Texas, created the site. It is providing the service free to the F.B.I.
The company set up the first BanditTracker in Dallas in 2007, and followed it with similar versions in Little Rock, Ark.; Indianapolis; Chicago; and Atlanta.
On Wednesday, when the Northeast site opened, it displayed images from 29 robberies. Five images from higher-priority cases were at the top of the page, rotating on eight-second cycles.
One was of a robbery on Feb. 22 in White Plains, when a man wearing a camouflage cap displayed a gun to an employee at the Hudson City Savings Bank and demanded cash, the site said.
Farther down on the site’s page are other images, like that of a person who held up a Bank of America branch at Broadway and West 107th Street on the Upper West Side on Aug. 20, 2009.
Though that robber, like many featured on the site, seems hard to identify, Spectrum officials say similar sites in other cities have produced useful leads. Indeed, they said, tips from the BanditTracker site led to the convictions of the so-called Scarecrow Bandits, a group of bank robbers in Dallas, named for their floppy hats and flannel shirts.
The effort comes despite a sharp decline in bank robberies in the region. In 2009, there were 222 robberies in New York City, said James Margolin, an F.B.I. spokesman, compared with 444 in 2008 and 283 in 2007. The F.B.I. said the 2008 figure was the highest in a decade. In New Jersey, there were 190 robberies in 2009, 202 in 2008 and 162 in 2007, said Steven Siegel, a special agent who focuses on bank robberies in that state.

Source :


Post a Comment