You Must Smile For The Camera!

There were a surprisingly high number of bank robberies in the area last year (and the trend seems to be continuing this year):

Last year, Dallas police reached a 15-year high for the number of bank robberies they investigated.

In an effort to avoid breaking that record anytime soon, officers plan to visit banks robbed recently to discuss ways to deter criminals. Police hope a better partnership with banks will help hold the numbers down.

So, just what are the police advising?

Some of the measures Dallas police will encourage banks to take:

  • Put up signs asking customers to remove hats, sunglasses and other items that hinder identification.
  • Place height-markers at entrances and exits to help identify suspects.
  • Update camera and alarm systems.
  • Place an employee near the door to greet customers.
  • Educate employees on how to spot potential trouble and report it quickly.
  • Make sure employees’ views of the teller area are unobstructed by desks, banners or other items.

Most of it sounds fairly innocuous, except for that first one.  Now I realize that banks are private property (or as private as property gets these days, what with the meddling health nazis, etc).  But something about this still rubs me the wrong way and it feels like the edge of a slippery slope.  Of course the police say it’s “voluntary,” but as with everything of this ilk, what is voluntary today soon becomes mandatory tomorrow.  There has been a time or two where I’ve nipped into the Chase branch in Town Center while I’m out walking, and if it’s particularly hot or sunny I wear a hat to cut the glare.  I’d be a bit miffed if told to take off the hat, because by then I’ve got sweaty hat head. 

Rather than concern about annoying regular customers, the primary reason that some banks haven’t implemented the hat suggestion is fear of offending people who wear head scarves or turbans, though.  Ah.  Finally something that multiculturalism is good for.

Anyhow, should this catch on with banks, I guess I’ll just have to drive over to the bank from now on (or perhaps frequent the drive-up window more often), thereby emitting more Gaia-destroying carbon-laden greenhouse gases.  cool smirk

1 Comment

  1. Bitter says:

    Oh, I have so much fun with the sign thing.  I have two pairs of glasses – one regular, one sunglasses.  Both are prescription.  I’m legally blind, but it can be corrected.  Without them, past a few inches, I can only tell color differences through the blur.

    Anyway, the bank I used in Massachusetts had one of these signs.  One bright day, I didn’t take my regular glasses in, so I kept my sunglasses on.  I walked up to an employee and she asked me to remove them.  I just said, “No, thank you.  Can you please deposit this for me?”  She said she needed me to remove the glasses.  I raised and eyebrow and responded something along these lines:
    “I come in here to conduct perfectly lawful business and you ask me to remove the prescription glasses that allow me to see?  Without these I’m blind, and I wouldn’t even be able to see any feature on your face less than two feet in front of me.  If this bank is unwilling to make reasonable accommodations under ADA and refuses to conduct business with a person due to disability, please clarify that policy so I may move my accounts to someone willing to work with those who are vision impaired.”

    Freaked her out.  It was so worth it for the look on her face.  Many apologies followed.  I wouldn’t have been a witch about it, but I politely declined and she opened the door for it.  I didn’t yell to cause a scene, I just wanted her to feel guilty.  I bet she never asks another person to remove glasses. wink