Crime doesn't pay: a statistical analysis of bank robbery earnings

In the latest issue of Significance, the journal of the Royal Statistical Society & American Statistical Association, economists Barry Reilly, Neil Rickman and Robert Witt take a look at the surprisingly mediocre returns that bank robbers can expect.  The Fiscal Times has the story:

In the U.S., based on 2006 data, the average take from a bank heist was $4,330. In the U.K., it was much bigger: £20,331, based on 2007 data (or about $40,000 based on the exchange rates that year).  A third of the robberies yielded nothing, meaning that the average take from a successful robbery was around £30,000. Even so, the authors note that in some cases the crooks were apprehended and the money returned, leaving the real average somewhat lower. Some robberies are done by teams, though, so adjusting for that, the authors conclude that bank robberies yield “a very modest £12,706.60 per person per raid.”

Twelve grand might sound like a lot, but combined with an expected successful career of just four robberies, and you can see why a your Point Break fantasies won't turn you into a made man.  If you really want to fleece people for millions with little chance of repercussions, don't rob a bank: own one.

Academics might be able to access the original text via publishers Wiley, or you can subscribe! 

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