Of 436 robbery cases involving District financial institutions during the five years ending last Dec. 21, more than 95 per cent have been solved and closed, police chief Maurice J. Callinane said today.
Addressing the 59th annual convention of the D.C. Bankers Association here, the metropolitan police department chief also expressed confidence crime in the capital city will continue.
In another development, D.C. Bankers Association President president of National Savings and Trust Co., revealed that representatives of his group and the city government will meet next Tuesday in an effort to end an inpasse over bank loans to D.C. residents for college educations.
Nine District banks halted college loans last June 30 because of a growing level of defaults that were not being reimbursed by the city government. Today, these banks are owed nearly $3 million on defaulted loans to nearly 3,000 students.
Cullinane said increases in crime in the District during February, March and April, following 22 consecutive months of declining crime, "should not lead us to panic." He said crime resumed a dwonward trend in May, and he revealed that, for the first 15 days of June, the level of criminal activity in the city was at a 10-year low.
"We have shown that the crime capital of the world is not in Washington. Our unparalleled success has provoked national envy, as only 3 of the 20 cities in our category (of size) can now claim to be safer," Cullinane told the bankers.
After a peak of 275 crimes a day in November 1969, a program of police-citizen cooperation began to reduce criminal activity, he said. "Within the past year, we have had months with daily averages of less than half that total and we have had many days with fewer than 100 crimes committed."
He also said that this year's increase in crime was caused by more burglaries and larcenies, with continued decreases in violent crimes. "We must work to retain this trend while redoubling police-citizen efforst against property theft. They are crimes of opportunity; we must remove the invitation," Cullinane added.
According to the police chief, Washington made a "wise investment" in upgrading its police force by developing the tools to confront new forms of criminal behavior including the crims of the 1970s - hostage-taking.
Cullinane said the safe release of individuals held hostage in March by members of the Hanafi Moslem sect and the arrest and presecution of the gunman was made possible primarily because of the conduct and readiness of police officers. "Had we been ill-prepared, we would have sent an invitation to other similar groups to use Washington as their playground," he asserted.
Cullinane said this training and experience should help prevent kidnapings of bankers. Nothing recent incidents-including the payment by a Nevada bank of $1.2 million in ransom-the police chief said these acts are mainly a technique to gain money, with no political overtones.
The D.C. police force is monitoring these incidents, and Cullinane said he believes contigency planning by bankers will help prevent such incidents in Washington.
As for robberies of financial institution, he said these crimes apparently pealed in 1973 with 115, a figure that [WORD ILLEGIBLE] 76 bank holdups.
Last year, these were 42 bank robberies involving $148,000, of which 33 have been solved. There also were 31 holdups at savings add loan associations, and only 4 of these cases remain open. While credit union are the least victimised, they suffer the heaviest losses. In 9 holdups last year, the average loss exceeded $10,000. However, 3 of those cases have been closed.
Asserting that Washington has "a bright future," Cullinane recalled his travels around the country during recent year and the "apparent indestructibility of our endured our success. Though crime plummeted, we remained the whipping boy."
"Apprently the word had leafed our, and he news media are reporting more non-crime, human-interest stories about us," he continued. "In addition, we have convinced the local populations. There is no longer a wholesale flight to the suburbs . . . When I see renovated homes with a view of Kennedy Stadium carrying Capitol Hill addresses and Capitol Hill price tags, I am confident that we are doing something right."
In a separate speech Riley said one item of unfinished business from his year as president of the association is "the unhappy student loan dilemna . . . a time-consuming, costly project for the banks as we attempted to carry out our responsibility as good corporate citizens."
With the amounts in default ruraling more than $2.8 million. "We most have a prompt, satisfactory solution to this problem. We have done everything humanly possible to work with the city officials, and hopefully the matter will be resolved within the date next two weeks," Riley said.
The nine D.C. banks involved in the loan program have said they will make no new loans until the default is recovered. Under federal guidelines, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare can cover 80 per cent of such loan losses, but only if the state involved has reserves to cover the remaining 20 per cent and only the local government has made adequate effort to locate the defaulting student and make collection.
A loan goes into default once a student is out of college for nine months and has not signed an installment agreement to repay the debt. A number of the students loans-one for each semester or year of study. The average amount owed is $1,020 per loan.