Fri | Apr 3, 2020

Letter of the Day | Ban phone usage in banks; install metal detectors

Published:Saturday | October 12, 2019 | 12:15 AM


Recently, a daring daylight robbery occurred at First Global Bank in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth. The incident was captured on CCTV and has since gone viral. Footage from the short video shows customers entering the facility. A male appears to be having a conversation on his phone. Soon after, another male enters the building. After browsing around, both men have a brief chat before proceeding to brandish firearms and stage the hold-up.

From the video footage, it was obvious that the mobile phone played an instrumental part in the execution of this heist. This begs the question: Why do we allow the use of mobile devices in our financial institutions?

The crime topography in Jamaica is such that zero tolerance on cell-phone usage in financial institutions should become a general rule. Institutions such as Western Union have this rule in place, but customers habitually give it little regard.

Financial institutions can provide ‘dead zones’ within and outside their immediate perimeter – these are areas where cell-phone signals are blocked, thereby removing the chances of unruly customers making calls.

The fact that the perpetrators used their phones to plan the robbery means their devices left a trail for telecoms experts and the police force to probe.

Our banks are making millions in profit. They may want to invest some of this money in installing walk-through metal detectors at their entrances, which would reduce the likelihood of firearm and knife breaches. Customer safety is paramount.