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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Thousand Oaks

Group Will Discuss Bank Security Needs

March 07, 2000|MAIJA-LIISA NAGARAJAN

City Councilman Andy Fox has organized local bank, law enforcement and city officials who are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the recent spate of bank robberies and to brainstorm methods to improve bank security.

Robbers have hit six banks in the Conejo Valley in the past month. The most recent took place Thursday at Charter Pacific Bank in Agoura Hills.

Fox said he has been concerned about bank safety since he joined the City Council five years ago.

"I don't want this [meeting] to be a knee-jerk reaction to the recent bank robberies," he said. "I, like everybody else, see a high percentage of bank robberies in the area. I asked [Sheriff's] Cmdr. [Kathryn] Kemp to put together numbers that would give us some idea of how many bank robberies we've had in the past years and how that compares to similar communities in the state."

Fox has suggested creating a community bank task force of six local bank officials to study how to reduce the number of robberies in the Conejo Valley.

Fox said he understands that banks want to create a warm and friendly atmosphere for customers. But employees, he added, must be given a safe working environment, "and they need to know what to do if a robbery occurs."

Law enforcement officials from the Thousand Oaks East County Sheriff's Station will also be on hand at Friday's meeting to discuss safety tips.

"We want to have better communication," Sgt. Scott Zaslove said. "Different banks have different policies in law enforcement. We want to explain our procedures and let them know what our response is."

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