The following information on the armored car and guards comes from Section 62 of Shooting by J. Henry FitzGerald. Shooting is also available to purchase in print.
In tracing conditions back for many years we find that in the days when banks and trust companies delivered money and valuable papers by one or two guards on foot, holdups were frequent; with the horse and wagon the same conditions prevailed, and now, in the automobile age, the automobiles aiding the get-away, we are having more payroll robberies than ever before. Even the armored car does not always prevent the robbery.
The armored car, while a preventive against robbery between the bank and place of delivery, does not prevent it either while money is placed in the car or delivered at the end of the journey. Experienced guards is the answer whether money is delivered by armored car or on foot. Its safety rests with the guards and not the conveyance.
I have noticed many times a clerk or paymaster carrying a bag at his side containing the money, the guard walking along hands at side, and if a revolver is carried it is in the hip pocket. Usually both men are inexperienced in the use of firearms and if trouble came neither would know where to begin. If they were experienced they would never walk side by side; the guard would walk at least ten feet behind (closer in a crowd). Two guards are better than one, one ahead and one behind. Whether the money is to he carried two blocks or ten, it is best to use a car for delivery.
If a passenger car is used, the principal thing to watch for is some one jumping upon the running-board on either side or another car forcing the money car toward the side of the street or road. In this case wreck the car, if possible, blocking the get-away. Four properly instructed guards are equal to ten of the so-called gunmen. Use the car for a shield, first getting out, if ordinary car is used, as the cramped position in a car does not allow for movement enough to protect against the opponent’s fire. As long as you stay in the car you are in one of five positions easily and accurately gauged from the outside; if on the floor you cannot see or protect yourself; on the outside your actual position is in doubt. It is no disgrace or no act of cowardice to use any available protection in a gun fight; it is good judgment. In a case of this kind or in any case all guards should be dressed in uniform, that officers coming to their assistance may know them from the gunmen.
The armored car has eliminated most of the trouble between starting and stopping points, but the danger is the same, as money is placed in the car and taken out at the other end. Again four or five properly trained guards will never be molested. I have found that the properly protected bank is never held up.
The procedure of bank robbers is to go to a town or city, look over the situation, and, if bank is easy, study system of protection; spend four or five weeks; find out when big shipments are made; and, when final arrangements are made, take the money,—this in case the protection is inadequate. If bank is properly protected, after checking up the system the robbers move to the next town. Why should they take a chance when so many hundreds of banks throughout the country are not protected. Many could be held up successfully by one man.
Five men who know protection are practically unbeatable, as two would cover one side of the doorway and sidewalk, the other two cover the other, backs turned to each other, while the fifth man with money would walk up space between them. If in doubt, stop all traffic until money is safely in bank or car and then close up around entrance, having revolver under the hand ready to use.
Unless both men and arms are tried out on the range no bank official can say that his bank is protected. The banks in the United States owe it to their employees and their families to take all necessary precautions in the way of instructions and proper firearms to safely protect lives and property.
Bank and payroll protection must he instantaneous. By this I mean that success or failure to protect is settled inside of ten seconds. Our Crime Commissions will tell us that the revolvers and automatic pistols are the cause of daylight robberies. This is not true; the automobile that allows the get-away is to blame. If there were no automobiles there would be very few daylight robberies. We cannot dispense with the automobiles, but we can perfect ourselves in the one thing that makes the get-away in an automobile a hazardous undertaking, namely, accurate revolver and pistol shooting.