No hats, no glasses, no phone = bank service

Sept. 7, 2010

Banks, tired of being robbed by perps in hats and sunglasses, are starting to ask their customers to not wear such things. In this story from, banks in Henrico, Va., are working with police on a policy that would ban customers from wearing hats and sunglasses inside the bank, and it would also prohibit them from talking on the cell phone.

The reason behind this dress code is that bank robbers often use hats and sunglasses to obscure their faces from video surveillance cameras, and they often use the cell phone to line up a getaway once the robbery is underway and then completed. The ban in this story is being put in place by branches themselves at the advice of police. It's noted that this isn't a law, but is purely a recommended security change. The question will be how to enforce such a policy and whether they will actually turn customers away who are wearing hats and sunglasses. And getting rid of the ever-present cell phone itself should prove to be an uphill battle.

It can happen, though. Years ago I was at a bank in downtown Copenhagen, and I recall distinctly that this policy was in place. That bank also had a sign on the door indicating that motorcycle helmets also were not to be worn (scooters and motorbikes are popular in the downtown area).

It's also worked in the U.S. reported the story last year about Sterling Bank's headgear/sunglasses policy intended to reduce bank robberies. By all accounts, their dress policy was effective. For more on this subject, I'll point you back to Joel Griffin's excellent article on that subject: "Banks fight robberies with new policies, camera positions".