(Albany) – New York State Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-C-IP, Rome), Chairman of the Senate Banks Committee, today announced that in response to an upturn in the number of bank robberies committed and in light of a robbery last week at an Adirondack Bank in Whitesboro, NY; the Committee has passed his legislation [Senate bill 3559] to increase the penalties for robbing banks, making the crime a class C felony.
“I am deeply concerned with the increasing number of incidents in which individuals come into banks and threaten violence against bank tellers whether in notes or verbal comments, and claim to be armed in the commission of a robbery. In my communications with law enforcement officials and leaders of the banking community, it has come to my attention that would-be criminals perceive that robbing a bank is not a crime that would be punished as severely as other types of crime,” Griffo said.
Griffo said that according to the most recent FBI statistics, the majority of bank robberies are committed with a demand note rather than a weapon.
“My goal in developing this legislation is to increase the safety of employees and consumers in our local banks, but also to send a message to potential criminals that robbing a bank is not some sort of victimless crime, but one that we take very seriously and will punish very strongly,” Griffo said. “Not only does this crime place employees and customers at risk, it imposes increased costs on all consumers. By increasing the penalties for bank robbery, this legislation seeks to help address this problem. The bill would establish meaningful penalties to serve as an effective deterrent and as an appropriate level of punishment.”
Griffo noted that the bill passed the Senate in last year’s legislative session. S.3559 now goes to the Senate Codes Committee for consideration. S. 3559 has an Assembly companion version [A.2485] sponsored by Assemblymember Charles Lavine (D- Glen Cove).