STATE—The FBI has launched a new website to help in investigating and solving bank robberies.
The website, www.bandittrackernortheast.com, features color photos and descriptions of bank robbers throughout the 13 counties covered by the FBI’s New York office and the 18 counties covered by the FBI’s New Jersey office. People can now go to one website to see all the bank robbers who are being sought within the New York and New Jersey FBI Offices’ territories. The site features a map of where the crimes occurred.
Joseph M. Demarest, Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the FBI in New York said, “This website has proven to be a very effective tool for other FBI offices in identifying and catching bank robbers, and we expect it to be a great asset for New York. The site will provide 24-hour access for the public, bank employees and the news media. And it will provide confidential information to law enforcement around the clock.”
“New Jersey has been effective in addressing violent bank robberies,” said Michael Ward of the FBI’s Newark Division. “With this new tool, we are optimistic that law enforcement efforts will be enhanced further in addressing this threat.”
Other FBI offices have launched similar BanditTracker sites with great success in Arkansas, Chicago, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and St. Louis.
The sites receive exposure on more than a dozen Internet search engines. As a result, BanditTracker has visitors from 132 different countries and nearly 7,900 different cities. To date, BanditTracker sites have received more than 300,000 visits, with subject photos displayed more than 10 million times.
The first of the BanditTracker sites was designed in 2007 by the FBI, the North Texas Crime Commission and Electronic Tracking Systems (ETS). ETS specializes in tracking and location, and works closely with law enforcement, financial institutions and businesses to capture bank robbers and other felony offenders. The use of BanditTracker is free to law enforcement agencies.
Rick Battelle, the north central regional managing director for ETS said, “We are very pleased that the ETS-facilitated Community Coalition, consisting of financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and our company, can provide the unique support offered by the BanditTracker site to aid our law enforcement partners in New York and New Jersey.”
The New York FBI is home to the FBI-NYPD Joint Bank Robbery Task Force, the nation’s first-ever permanent FBI-local law enforcement task force, created in 1979. In addition, there are violent crime task forces with investigative responsibility for bank robberies in the New York FBI’s satellite offices in White Plains, Melville and Goshen, N.Y.
The website will also feature bank robbery fugitives from New Jersey. The Newark FBI Division, together with its law enforcement partners, has one of the highest bank robbery solution rates in the nation. In 2009, New Jersey law enforcement agencies solved over 71 percent of the 190 robberies that occurred in New Jersey, with ongoing investigations on the remaining unsolved cases. This is due in large part to the excellent working relationship between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in New Jersey working together and sharing information.
(Left to right) FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Michael Harpster, Newark Division; ASAC Belle Chen, New York Division; ETS Chief Operating Officer Steve Childress; and ETS North Central Regional Managing Director Rick Battelle Photo Credit: Matthew Coleman, FBI
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