In response to the rise in bank robberies, including incidents at Adirondack Bank last week and KeyBank yesterday, State Senator Joe Griffo says he wants to increase penalties for the crime.

"There were many other types of crimes that had a higher penalty than it did for bank robbery, so a lot of criminals go in and see less of a risk than in other areas of the law," Griffo said. "So, I think it's important that we show that we place significance on the fact that this is a significant crime."

If the bill moves forward and is eventually signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, robbing a bank would become a Class C felony. But, he says the added risk isn't the legislation's only benefit.

"There have been an increasing number of incidents where individuals who come into banks and threaten violence against bank tellers are particularly using notes now," "So, as a result this legislation and the way we developed it was to try to protect the safety of employees and consumers."

Griffo's says his legislation was passed last year in the State Senate, but failed in the Assembly. On Tuesday, it was passed unanimously in the Senate's Banks Committee.

This year, Griffo hopes to have the bill passed in both houses by the end of the legislative session in June. It already has support and sponsorship from downstate Assemblymember, Charles Lavine.

If passed into law, it will take effect November 1st.