Bank robberies on the rise in central Ark.?

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A bank robbery at the First Security Bank near War Memorial stadium in Little Rock marks the city's tenth bank robbery so far in 2014. But the communities of Benton, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs and Brinkley have all experienced bank robberies of their own this year. Although unusual for those smaller cities and towns, many say it's beginning to become a bit of the norm. "We have anywhere between 16 and 18 bank robberies per year and right now we are at ten," said Lt. Sidney Allen, Little Rock Police. Staying the current course, Lt. Allen admits the city appears on track to have an above average year when it comes to bank robberies. Benton PD's first robbery of the year occurred last week. Generally the city only experiences one bank heist on average every year - but that statistic was established relatively recently. "Just within the last five years we've had six actual bank robberies that have taken place in the city of Benton," said Lt. Kevin Russell, Benton Police. "In the previous ten years - since I've been here, since 1999 - those previous ten years to that we had only had three." Lt. Russell blames a lot of their increase in crime on the city's rather rapid growth and their location along Interstate 30. "We tend to see a lot of criminal activity that comes from surrounding counties, especially Pulaski County and that area," commented Russell. But even though there may be an uptick in those attempting to score large sums of cash, it doesn't mean police aren't on top of it. Russell says only one bank robber - a serial robber that robbed the same Summit Bank in Benton twice - still remains on the loose and is supposedly at the helm of another bank robbery in Tyler, Texas. "We only have two of them that are outstanding, which includes the one today," said Lt. Allen, regarding Little Rock's unsolved bank robberies. "The detectives have been working hard and they do a pretty good job at staying on top of the bank robberies that we have." Both police departments could really offer an explanation as to why there may be an increase in the number of bank robberies. Little Rock PD says the "why question" is always asked when they take a suspect into custody. Suspects generally give the reason that it was a crime of opportunity or they were hard on their luck.