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I’ve been getting a lot of press releases from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies lately about bank robberies. The Geezer Bandit, now suspected of faking his elderly appearance, has grabbed the most attention from local media for his exploits.

So on a hunch, I asked the local FBI office to look up its bank robbery statistics. The office tracks bank robberies in San Diego and Imperial Counties, with San Diego having the lion’s share each year.

In the first five months, between Jan. 1 and May 27, the FBI counted 64 bank robberies between the two counties. That’s a 42 percent increase from the same period last year, when the region had 45 bank robberies.

That jump stands out when the overall number of robberies continues to decline along with overall crime rates in the region.

Countywide, the number of armed and strong armed robberies during the first four months of 2010 was seven percent lower than 2009. Violent crime rates — which include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assaulted — were down five percent. Property crime rates — which include burglary, theft and auto theft — were down three percent.

Last fall, the region did see an uptick in overall robberies, but law enforcement officials generally attributed it to a number of unconnected serial robbers. I wrote this story about one of those robbers, Dragon Jones, who was charged with robbing 20 businesses, but no banks.

— KEEGAN KYLE

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