Who'd a thunk the American Bankers Association would be giving the FBI a helping hand when it comes to tracking bank robberies, burglaries and ATM crimes? Ed Yingling, president and CEO of the ABA, won't exactly be hosting "Banking's Most Wanted" - insert your favorite late night, TARP/bankers-as-villains joke here - but the association's security committee recently unveiled an industry-wide crime database, complete with Google mapping and "street view" functionality, along with case and data management tools, to track and analyze robberies, burglaries and other physical crimes against banks.
"There are serial bank robbers out there, if they get frustrated at one location, it's not like they're going to go home," says Doug Johnson, vp of risk management policy at the ABA. "Large financial institutions have - for a while - been looking for the ability to share more real-time robbery data, all the way to ultimately having a real-time alerting system."
Now they have it. The data share system is still in want of a catchy name; (anyone who can do better than the Bank Robbery Database and Alerting System please call Johnson), but so far 12 banks that are part of the ABA security committee have entered information about 25,000 branches and 2,500 events from 2007 'til now. Rollout to the entire ABA membership is expected sometime in the second quarter; access will initially be free.
The plan is for each bank to tie in its existing case management system, so when an event happens the bank security officer only has to enter it into one system and it will automatically feed into the ABA-sponsored platform, says Kevin McMenimen, president and CEO of Enabl-U Technologies, which provides the case management and investigation tools built into the system. CAP Index of Exton PA, which already provides crime forecasts to 26 of the top 30 US banks, provides the mapping and analytics on the data.
The system is so cool that when ABA, Enabl-U and CAP Index showed it to the FBI, the g-men instantly wanted in. Their current technology for tracking bank robberies isn't nearly as sophisticated, so this version is being modified so that resource-constrained law enforcement officials can use the analytics and also enter notes and reports on specific incidents. And, finally, the general public can get in on the act. The third component of the venture will be to post security camera pictures that are part of each incident report, along with descriptions given in the reports, so that the general public can troll the site looking for nefarious neighbors. The FBI envisions the site much like its current iteration on the concept, www.bankbandits.org. For the record, though the public flogging has been over-the-top, and unwarranted, questionable use of TARP funds hasn't yet landed a CEO on the "Wanted" page.