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The poor rewards of robbing banks: By the numbers
Turns out your mom was right: Crime doesn't pay — or, according to a new study, at least not very much. Here's why bank robbery is an especially bad career choice
 
Screen shot from the 2006 crime drama Inside Man: Despite what the movies teach us, you cannot actually live off of bank heists. In fact, the average haul in the U.S. is just $7,500.
Screen shot from the 2006 crime drama Inside Man: Despite what the movies teach us, you cannot actually live off of bank heists. In fact, the average haul in the U.S. is just $7,500.
David Lee/ Universal Studios/Bureau L.A. Collection/Corbis

Crime doesn't pay as much as you might think, say a group of British economists in Significance, the journal of Britain's Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association. The study's authors, from the Universities of Surrey and Suffolk, provide what they call the first "independent econometric analysis" of bank heists, using data from the FBI and British Bankers' Association. Their conclusion? "Statistically speaking, robbing banks is a bad idea. The return on an average bank robbery is, frankly, rubbish. It is not unimaginable wealth." How bad is the pay? Here's a look, by the numbers:

$7,500
Average haul for U.S. bank robberies in 2010 

$4,330
Average haul for U.S. bank robberies in 2006 

5,500
U.S. bank robberies in 2010 

7,500+
U.S. bank robberies in 2005

1,445
U.S. bank robberies where the thief showed a gun in 2010

13
U.S. bank robbers killed during heists in 2010

1.6
Average number of bank robbers in each heist

60
Percent of bank robberies carried out by one thief

$14,070
Amount each additional thief adds to the take in bank raids

106
Bank robberies in the U.K. in 2007

$31,668
Average haul for British bank heists (2005-08)

$19,700
Average per-thief haul from a British bank heist 

$20,000
Average half-year income for full-time employed Britons

$950,000
Biggest British bank taking in 2007

33
Percent of bank robberies that yield nothing 

20
Percent of British bank robbers who get caught and jailed 

3
Average number of successful bank heists before a robber is caught

22
Percent of U.S. bank robberies where the cash was recovered (2010)

50
Percent of thefts thwarted by fast-rising bank-teller screens

$7,000
Cost of each of those screens

12
Percent of British banks that use the screens, with fewer still in the U.S.

Sources: Fiscal Times, Significance [PDF], SmartPlanet, Telegraph, U.S. News

 

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