[EDITORIALS]Epidemic of armed robbery

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[EDITORIALS]Epidemic of armed robbery

Just one day after an agricultural cooperative's vehicle carrying cash was attacked by robbers in Seosan city, South Chungcheong province, three burglars armed with rifles robbed Hanvit Bank's branch in eastern Seoul on Saturday.

In an unprecedented series of events, four armed robberies have taken place in just three months. In December, two masked gunmen robbed a bank in Daegu, and an armed trio plundered another bank in Daejeon, shooting an employee to death. The public is anxious because the criminals are still at large.

What the recent spate of armed robberies have in common is that security measures were too loose. In particular, the cooperative's vehicle, which was robbed of 730 million won ($560,000), was so unguarded that it is hard to believe the car was used to transport cash. Its defenselessness invited robbery, as a small gas gun was all it had for security, and it carried bags of cash in its trunk, rather than using bags designed specially for transportation.

Also alarming is that the weapons used in the robbery of the Hanvit Bank branch are believed to be the ones snatched from army soldiers while they were on guard duty.

Financial institutions, which frequently are the target of robberies, are not working hard enough to reinforce their security measures. If they think they have nothing to lose because they are insured and it is expensive to build or strengthen their security network, they are to blame for negligence of their social responsibility. How can they guarantee the security of customers' money when they cannot even ensure their own safety? Financial companies should realize that they have the biggest responsibility for robberies, and draw up measures to protect themselves from attacks.

In addition, arresting the criminals is the core of public security. It is essential to nab them to prevent similar crimes. Law enforcement agencies should teach potential offenders a lesson that felons will be arrested without fail and will be punished accordingly. Citizens should also cooperate with law enforcement so that criminals will find no place to hide.

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