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Armed Guards: Weigh the Benefits Against Liability Risks & Costs

Every bank is at risk of a robbery and must determine how to address this significant and ongoing threat. In light of the risks and costs, the decision to employ armed vs. unarmed guards should not be made lightly.

Armed guards may amplify the deterrent effect, potentially convincing criminals to leave the premises in search of an easier target. However, the presence of a firearm also may escalate a situation. Studies show that the likelihood of a violent event occurring during a bank robbery triples when an armed guard is present.1 This added risk of violence is a threat not only to the bank’s employees and customers, but also to its finances, as the bank may be held liable if anyone is injured or killed. In addition, armed guards are typically more expensive, as they require a higher level of training and may result in increased insurance costs for the bank.

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