In recent times, a new form of criminal activity has been making headlines, particularly in California. Known as “bank jugging,” this crime involves criminals observing individuals as they leave financial institutions, visibly holding cash. The criminals then follow their targets to their next destination, seizing the opportunity to either burglarize the vehicle or commit robbery directly.

Photo of masked criminals running away from a crime.

The Anatomy of a Bank Jugging Crime

The Fontana police department in California recently took to Instagram to warn residents about the escalating number of bank jugging incidents. In a typical scenario, a person leaves a bank holding cash, drives to another location, and becomes a victim of theft or robbery. For instance, in July, a man left a Fontana bank with $1,060 in cash, drove to a nearby Walgreen's, and while he was inside, thieves broke into his car and stole the money.

Not Just a California Problem

While California has seen a surge in these incidents, the problem is not confined to the Golden State. The Orlando Police Department in Florida also warned of a “major uptick” in bank jugging cases. The alarming part? It takes mere seconds for these criminals to complete the robbery.

Photo of a masked cyber criminal.

Safety Tips to Consider

The police have offered some safety tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of bank jugging. These include being vigilant for people loitering around financial institutions, avoiding distractions like using your phone, securing cash in a nondescript bag, and being conscious of any vehicles that might be following you. If you suspect you're being followed, call 911 immediately or head straight to the nearest police or fire station.

The Importance of Awareness

While it's essential to be cautious, awareness is your first line of defense. Knowing what to look for and how to react can make all the difference. So, let's be vigilant and look out for one another because safety is a collective responsibility.

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