Only 10 percent of all bank robberies end with suspects being charged in court, police acknowledged on Tuesday.

The figure emerged during a session called by the Knesset Interior Affairs and Environment Committee to discuss a recent spate of armed robberies, and the murder of a civilian during one last week.

“If 90% of bank robbers get away with it, that would mean it’s worthwhile for them,” MK Dov Henin (Hadash) told police representatives at the meeting.

Police Investigations branch head Asst.-Ch. Yoav Segalovich said police were seeking to double the indictment rate to 20%. He added that bank robbers are often “professional criminals” who carried out other offenses such as drug dealing and burglaries.

“In some cases, we know who the bank robbers are, but there isn’t enough evidence to charge them... We use intelligence to get them on other crimes,” Segalovich said. “We have marked these people. We don’t always get them on robberies.”

Robbers arrived with face masks and gloves, making indictments difficult to issue, he said.

“This is very disturbing.

What happens to crimes that are not targets for improvements?” asked MK Arieh Bibi (Kadima), a former Jerusalem police chief.

Segalovich launched a stinging attack on Bibi’s record, saying, “Your [police] history doesn’t include a higher indictment rate than 10%.” Segalovich added that “there has been no statistical rise in bank robberies.”

According to police figures, bank robbery rates remained fairly constant from 2009 (62 incidents) to 2011 (53 incidents), while robberies at post offices dropped by 52%, from 85 in 2009 to 40 in 2011.

That was largely due to a security program created for Postal Bank branches by the police’s Security Division.

Similarly, police are working with banks to become fortifications based on new technologies, and are helping the banks carry out risk assessments to determine the likelihood of them being targeted.

Pini Schiff, former security chief at Ben-Gurion Airport, told the committee that banks had to be turned into “traps for the robbers.”

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