The number of bank robberies in Denmark fell to zero last year, as beefed-up security and reduced use of cash in the Nordic country make holdups less lucrative.
Bank heists have been declining steadily since 2000, when 221 took place, or one for nearly every day that branches were open.
In 2021, Denmark had just one bank robbery, according to data from Finance Denmark, an industry group for lenders. Bloomberg was first to report the figures for 2022.
Increased camera surveillance, improved alarm systems and stronger cooperation with the police have helped to bring the number down, according to Michael Busk-Jepsen, director of digitalization at Finance Denmark.
Another factor in the decline: a dramatic reduction in the number of cashiers.
Of around 800 bank branches in Denmark, only about 20 still have staff handling deposits and withdrawals, Busk-Jepsen told CNN. Most customers use one of the approximately 2,000 ATMs in the country, he added.
A jump in the use of cards and payment apps among Danes also means there’s less cash in circulation. Cash withdrawals have fallen by about 75% over the last six years, Bloomberg reported, citing central bank data.
Denmark has a population of about 5.9 million, and is regularly ranked as one of the world’s happiest countries. In 2022, it came in second only to Finland in the World Happiness Report, scoring highly on such measures as healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support and low corruption.
Bank robberies are on the decline in other countries too, as the move away from cash to digital banking gives rise to cyber crime, such as hacks and phishing scams, which target bank details and other personal information.
American banks suffered 1,724 robberies in 2021, according to the FBI’s bank crime statistics. That’s down from 7,556 in 2004.
Online banking fraud is increasing in Denmark, too, Busk-Jepsen said. “In the olden days, the robbers went to the banks, now they go to the customers instead,” he added.