12

At the beginning of the movie Den of Thieves it is stated that:

2400 TIMES A YEAR. 44 TIMES A WEEK. 9 TIMES A DAY. EVERY 48 MINUTES. A BANK IS ROBBED HERE.[sic]

Anyway, I don't know whether HERE refers to the entire US or just the city of Los Angeles or maybe a district of it, but nevertheless, it looks pretty much and hard to believe. Considering the fact that the security considerations are becoming more and more sophisticated day to day and heisting a bank is not an easy job.

I did a little googling to see if these statistics are accurate. There was this question on quora which quoted a FBI report:

Bank Robberies: 4,185.

Investigation has resulted in the identification of 2,537 of the 4,900 persons known to be involved in bank robberies, bank burglaries and bank larcenies.

"Note: Not all bank robberies are reported to the FBI, therefore BCS is not a complete statistical compilation of all bank robberies that occur in the United States."

And I tried to reach some official documents to see the statistics, but I faced this page:

fbi

So my questions are: are those statistics true? I am also interested in knowing the trend (has the numbers been declining or increasing?) and more importantly, the meaning of HERE in that sentence (did it mean the US or just LA?)

  • 3
    I'll note that something like credit card fraud could be regarded as "bank theft". And almost certainly many forms of ATM theft would be. (But one wonders what sort of climate change info was on that FBI page to cause it to be blocked.) – Daniel R Hicks Apr 12 '18 at 12:08
  • 1
    Just from the math side, "44 TIMES A WEEK. 9 TIMES A DAY. EVERY 48 MINUTES." is pretty inconsistent. It seems the claim assumes that bank robberies can happen only 5 days a week, and only 7 hours a day. – Evargalo Apr 12 '18 at 12:56
  • 1
    @Evargalo After you throw in the generous number of "bank holidays", and the fact that most banks are only open 9-5, with weekend hours being a rarity (in the states at least), I think a window of ~7 hours a day where the /average/ bank robbery can take place sounds about right? – Jack Of All Trades 234 Apr 12 '18 at 14:17
  • 1
    Is fictional TV and movies (and books) considered a good source of notable claims for this forum? – GEdgar Apr 12 '18 at 17:32
  • 1
    @GEdgar I think they are notable in a sense that 1) they have a broad audience. 2) although the main story is fictional, but sometimes they say something seemingly fact-based in the beginning, or in the end, which most of the audience have no problem in believing so. – polfosol Apr 12 '18 at 19:27
12

No, there were about 4,000 bank robberies in the US in 2016 according to the FBI. I believe the 'here' in the claim means either Los Angeles or California, though it wouldn't make sense either way as the entire state of California had about 460.

Even if the FBI statistics miss some number bank robberies, the claim is still hard to believe. If 'here' means the US, then the FBI accidentally counted each bank robbery twice. If 'here' means Los Angeles, then Los Angeles has 6 times more robberies than are reported by the entire state.


Addendum: as pointed out in a comment by Reirab, and detailed by this Movies Stack Exchange question, the number of bank robberies in early-1990's Los Angeles was as high as 2,641. In 2013 there were only 212 robberies.

So, the filmmakers are simply using 25 year old data from Los Angeles' peak robbery years. If the movie had been set in the early 90's then the intro would be pretty much correct.


2016 FBI statistics

US Totals: According to official FBI statistics, there were a total of 4,251 crimes which were in violation of the Federal Bank Robbery and Incidental Crimes Statue. As can be seen in the below image from the paper, no part of the statistics could possibly be interpreted as 2,400 as claimed by the movie. FBI Statistics regarding bank robberies in the US

I gave them the benefit of the doubt and checked if they meant robberies during operating hours, when workers and clients could be taken hostage in typical movie style. That would also be wrong, as nearly all of the ~4000 robberies occurred during normal bank hours:

US bank robberies by time

California/Los Angeles: If the opening statistics were referring to only Los Angeles or California and not the US, which might make sense given the setting(I haven't actually seen the movie), then it would also be wrong: Pacific states bank robberies

The above columns represent "Bank Robberies", "Bank Burglaries", "Bank Larcenies", and "Bank Extortions". There were 462 bank robberies in all of California, so the statistic cannot be accurate unless there are 6 times as many robberies than are reported, and even more than that if it's only for Los Angeles.


As a side note: the math indicates that it is only counting banks robbed during normal hours(if you don't care about Saturday), but even if the '2400' claim was true the math is still kind of wrong:

2400/50 = 46 robberies/week assuming 10 public holidays, 46/5 = 9.2 robberies/day for a 5 day work week, 9.2/8 = 1.15 robberies per hour, or about one every 51-52 minutes.

That's only 3-4 minutes more, so it's not like they needed to fudge the numbers to sound cool, it's simply a mistake. If the people who made this claim felt checking whether they divided numbers three times correctly was too much work for the intro splash, I doubt they did proper research for the number of robberies.

  • 3
    The statistic was accurate for LA. 2 decades ago. It is no longer accurate. – reirab Apr 12 '18 at 18:29
  • 7
    @reirab: Now I'm just imagining wrong out-of-date 90's statistics for other cities. "Seattle: every 37 minutes a new grunge band is formed". – Giter Apr 12 '18 at 18:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .