In what percent of small-time armed robberies are the robbers caught and convicted?

By small-time I mean liquor stores and the like rather than banks.

I’m uncertain anyone has this statistic.
The FBI’s uniform crime reports don’t break crimes down this way, so local reporting systems appear not to either.
Your best bet might be a guess from a cop who frequents this board.
For an overview of % of subjects arrested in robberies, you can check this out:

That site gives general trends for crimes committed and convictions. However, there is no way to determine to what extent the discrepancy is due to individuals being caught after committing multiple offenses vs individuals simply not being caught.

So you’re thinking about a career change?

Consider wire fraud or embezzlement. Even if you do get caught and convicted, federal prison is so much nicer, and the sentences are shorter than those for armed robbery.

[Michael Bolton from Office Space] We get caught laundering money, we’re not going to white-collar resort prison. No, no, no. We’re going to federal POUND ME IN THE ASS prison. [/MB]
As for the OP, I found this statistic from 2003:

From here:

I can’t imagine that the statistics have changed dramatically in the past few years, so you’re going to be somewhere around 25%. In my quick googling I didn’t see a statistic that separated out the liquor store and bank type robberies.

Actually, I seem to recall that the clearance rate was much higher for bank robberies. I wish I could find a cite!
I’ve got a notion that it’s somewhere around 60%; certainly it’s much easier to investigate a crime that happens in a building with 7 cameras and multiple staffers than it is with a c-store.
That being said, we have the ‘repeat criminal’ bias here, too.
A lot of bank robbers appear to be serial bank robbers, and if you arrest a guy after robbery #10 and get him to confess, it’s not quite the same as arresting 10 guys who comitted only one robbery a piece.

If I really wanted the answer to the OP’s question, I’d probably have to go through the crime reports for a few metro and suburban police departments myself… that would turn it into a multi-month research project of the dullest possible type.

I don’t know if it’s still true, but robbing a bank used to guarantee an FBI investigation, something that any intelligent criminal would avoid. I never understood why people robbed banks. The average take is low. They have lots of cameras, dye packs, etc. It triggers the involvement of the feds, who have the time, money, and manpower to investigate and prosecute to the full extent of the law. Conviction rates are high and sentences are severe. If you want to get rich via crime, it’s a lousy choice.

Yeah, it still gets the FBI involved, at least as of a month ago.
Those boys ain’t like on TV…

Because that’s where the money is.

According to the FBI’s 2006 statistics, the average haul is about $10K. That’s not very impressive. A car thief could easily beat that.

Bear in mind, that average gets skewed by the guys who know EXACTLY what they’re doing and get $25K hauls.
If an unskilled bank robber goes out, he’s likely going to be closer to 2K than 10K.

You sort of answer your own question I think. Intelligent criminals avoid bank robberies, which leaves the unintelligent criminals, of which there is no shortage. From what I’ve read over the years, modern bank robbers tend to be bottom-of-the-barrel criminals.

I know you’re looking for a factual answer, but you still might want to check out Elmore Leonard’s novel Swag, which is about a couple of guys who specialize in small-time robbery. They purposely avoid banks and big scores. They have a set of rules about robbery that they feel pretty much guarantee they’ll never be caught. It goes well for a while, but, well, you know, it just couldn’t last. It’s a novel for anybody who’s ever wondered about those guys who seem to hang around the condo swimming pool all day, and still manage to pay the rent and own a car.

Not in cash, and probably not from a fence. A sophisticated organized operation may well be able to sell a hot car at or close to bluebook, but the guy who actually stole the car will only see a tiny fraction of that. In any case, converting stolen goods to cash involves at least one other person and additional time, trouble, and risk. It also requires planning, and forward thinking, and if you are capable of those, you might instead persue an education, get an honest job, and make more money each year than 99.99% of criminals will ever see in thier career.