Even in an armored vehicle, Houston traffic is still the most dangerous in the nation

Authorities look over the armored car at the scene were a shootout occurred between an armored car guard and suspected armed robber, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. The Brinks Inc., armored car guard was leaving a Golden 1 Credit Union branch with a bag of money when a masked man armed with a handgun approached on foot. Both were wounded in the ensuing shootout and taken to a nearby hospital. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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Houston is burning:

Via imgur.com/PaH4hKh

According to a recent report, scenes like the one above* are not so uncommon in Texas’ largest city.

Despite low crime rates otherwise, armored car drivers, like Brinks’ Trucks drivers, are 20 percent more likely to be robbed on the job in Houston than anywhere else in the nation.

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2016 was Houston’s fourth year at number one for armored car heists, and data collected by the FBI shows these robberies were usually violent, a possible response to drivers being armed themselves.

“Each and every one of these crimes is serious and alarming because in each incident you have armed robbers who are choosing to target guards who are also armed,” FBI special agent Shauna Dunlap said in an interview with Houstonia Mag. “It is a more brazen and aggressive robber who is willing to go up against an armed guard, and one who typically possesses a complete disregard for human life.”

Bureau data further showed several contributing factors landed Houston in the top spot, including the city’s large square mileage and sprawling freeways.

This presents wide open opportunities for attack with relatively slow police response times given travel distances alone.

And the attacks aren’t happening at odd hours or in conspicuous locations; in 2015, a Brinks guard was killed during a Galleria-area robbery at midday, and another robbery happened in front of a Deer Park Target just across the street from a middle school.

“It’s a very specific person that takes on an armored car,” criminology professor Dr. Everette Penn said in an interview. “But if you look at crime-clearance rates, they see an opportunity — even if it’s just for a few thousand dollars, and even if it means risking their lives.”

The HPD foiled a big armored car robbery last December, one of at least five deadly armored car attacks last year, but if trends continue, authorities can look forward to at least eight more attempts of the desperate feat in 2017.

RELATED: Watch the moment car-crushing armored vehicles ended a long freeway chase and an LAPD K-9 toppled a suspect

Perhaps it’s not a stretch for rumors of Grand Theft Auto 6 being set in Houston to be true — traffic her’s more dangerous than elsewhere.

*Not all armored car robberies result in fires.

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