Local News

Durham Police, Banks Join Forces to Catch Robbers

Posted May 10, 1999

— A new report shows North Carolina is close to, if notthebank robbery capital of the country. Durham's Police Chief has an idea to trip up those bank robbers.

Now she needs the banks to jump on board with her plan.

The banks are beginning to come on board, but police need more to sign on in order to make the suspect tracking system work.

Durham would like to end its reign as number one in North Carolina bank robberies, so police and banks have formed a high-tech partnership to increase the chance of catching bank robbers.

"I can say we have a new invisible tracking device that will enable us to deter bank robbers even more," said Capt. Dwight Pettiford of the Durham Police.

While police do not want to say much about the system called ProNet, they do claim it will be nearly 100 percent effective in catching bank robbers. It is a tall claim, but the banks say they have got to do something.

"We're seeing entirely too many robberies. They are on the upswing. Probably a greater concern than that is they are becoming more unpredictable and violent. I could give you stories that you don't want to hear about things that had happened," said Richard Furr ofCentral Carolina Bank.

Police say Durham's CCB was a big help in getting the program started, but they are more interested in the potential result.

"Once we show a 100 percent conviction rate, I think the message will get out to the criminal element that if they come to Durham, they are going to jail," said Pettiford.

Arresting every bank robber is a huge goal, and police need 80 percent of the Durham banks to sign on to the system in order to make it work. Currently they have a little less than 70 percent.

Durham hopes to be first in the state to have this system, which police would like to see up and running by the fall.

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