The Problem of Robbery at Automated Teller Machines

This guide addresses the difficulty of robbery of world making use of automated teller makers (ATMs) and also night cash depositories.§ The overview begins by describing the trouble and reviewing factors that rise the threats of ATM robbery. It then identifies a series of inquiries that might assist you in analyzing your neighborhood ATM robbery problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the trouble and also what is known around these from evaluative study and also police practice.

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§ Robberies at night cash depositories, at which cash can only be deposited, not withdrawn, are sufficiently equivalent to ATM robberies to make many of the responses comparable. Hereafter, recommendation will certainly be made only to ATMs, however unmuch less otherwise listed, all information uses equally to night cash depositories.

ATMs were initially introduced in the mid-1960s in the United Kingdom, and also in the late 1960s in the United States. The number of ATMs has actually increased drastically given that. ATM users now every year conduct billions of financial transactions, mostly cash withdrawals. Where once one would certainly find ATMs only on bank premises, today one finds them nearly everywhere—along sidewalks and also in airports, grocery stores, shopping malls, nightclubs, and also casinos. There are also mobile ATMs that have the right to be erected at disaster sites or short-term entertainment venues like fairgrounds. Bank customers have concerned suppose that they can access their funds essentially any kind of time and also any type of location. To some extent, they have traded security for convenience.


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ATMs have been mounted in many kind of places such as this shopping mall and also nightclub. Credit: Bob Heimberger


ATM services are extremely profitable for banks, and banks aggressively sector the use of ATM cards.§ ATMs that are off bank premises are typically even more profitable for banks because they entice a greater volume of non-bank customers, who should pay business fees. Unfortunately, customers utilizing offpremise ATMs are even more delicate to robbery.

§ It has actually been estimated that in 1993, banks earned $2.55 billion in revenue from ATMs, conserved $2.34 billion in wperiods for tellers and also netted a profit of $2 billion (Deitch 1994; DeYoung 1995).

As yet, tright here are no on a regular basis collected national figures on the incidence of U.S. ATM robberies.§§ Quotes are obtained from routine surveys of financial institutions carried out by banking associations.§§§ According to those surveys, tbelow was an estimated one ATM crime (consisting of robbery) per 3.5 million transactions.§§§§ Statewide surveys conducted in California indicated tbelow was one ATM crime per 1.9 million transactions in 1986, one per 1.2 million in 1992, and also one per 2.5 million in 1995.1 Thus, the California figures indicate that the price of ATM crime decreased by around 50 percent throughout that brief period, although we carry out not know exactly how well the financial institution survey data reflect the actual incidence of ATM crime. Moreover, the surveys covered all ATM-connected crimes, not simply robbery, so the numbers overstate robbery prices (watch listed below for associated crimes).

§§ With a small initiative, many neighborhood police agencies could compile data on ATM robberies, but till the FBI"s National Incident-Based Reporting System becomes traditional, the Unidevelop Crime Reports will certainly not provide nationwide information on the problem.

§§§ Many of the figures cited in the literature on ATM crime are from 2 surveys, conducted by the Bank Administration Institute and the American Bankers Association in 1987 and 1989, respectively.

§§§§ This number is on a regular basis cited in the Bank Administration Institute and Amerideserve to Bankers Association surveys.

The survey numbers and findings are still cited as if they reflect current problems, even though it is unconvinced that they execute. The best one deserve to conclude is that the overall rate of ATM-connected crime is somewbelow in between one per 1 million and one per 3.5 million transactions, arguing that such crime is fairly rare. But the numbers, without further evaluation and also some comparative context, do not tell us much around the risks of ATM robbery. Local evaluation of ATM robberies will certainly be crucial to recognize exactly how significant the problem is in your jurisdiction.

Related Problems

Robbery at ATMs is just one of several related problems the police should address. Other difficulties that speak to for sepaprice evaluation and also responses, however which are not addressed in this overview, include:

Robbery of couriers that fill ATMs via cashTheft of individual identification numbers (PINs) (including theft by "shoulder surfing")Theft by electronic data interceptionTheft by fraudulent digital transactionsTheft of money from ATMs by bank/ATM organization employeesBurglary of ATMs (consisting of theft of whole ATMs)Presence of homemuch less world sleeping in ATM vestibulesVandalism of ATMsFraudulent use of ATM cards obtained from customers via dummy ATMs that save their cards.

Factors Contributing to Robbery at Automated Teller Machines

Understanding the determinants that contribute to your problem will certainly aid you frame your very own local analysis questions, identify great effectiveness steps, recognize crucial treatment points, and also select proper responses.

A few research studies, although they are ending up being dated, have gave some data on widespread ATM robbery trends.2 The basic conclusions are as follows:


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Drive-ups are more secure


Most robberies are committed by a lone offender—utilizing some form of weapon—versus a lone victim.Many take place at night, through the greatest hazard between midnight and also 4 a.m.Many involve robbing world of cash after they have made a withdrawal.Robberies are rather more most likely to happen at walk-up ATMs than at drive-with ATMs.About 15 percent of victims are injured.The average loss is between $100 and $200.

High rates of all types of street robbery, consisting of ATM robbery, are most likely to coincide via crack cocaine sectors, as street robbery is a quick method for addicts to gain the cash they should buy crack, and it does not require most planning or ability.

ATM robbery attracts the majority of media attention and also public worry, many likely because the basic public perceives that it can happen to practically anyone. Legislation regarding ATM customer safety and security has actually been introduced instantly after a prominent person, a legislator or someone close to a legislator has been robbed at an ATM.§

§ Amongst the influential victims of ATM robbery in recent years are a former UNITED STATE Secretary of Health and Person Services, who effectively withstood the offenders and also later identified them; the son of TimeWarner Inc."s CEO, that was additionally a well-known New York City college teacher (he was murdered after his ATM card was taken and also he was required to reveal his PIN); a New York City councilwoman; police officers; and assistant district attorneys.

Tbelow are numerous extra and also unique ATM robbery trends, each of which presents unique challenges in responding. As listed above, the many widespread pattern is for the offender to rob the ATM user automatically after the victim renders a withdrawal.3 Other trends incorporate the following:

The offender forces the victim to go to an ATM to withattract cashThe offender robs the victim of his or her ATM card, pressures the victim to reveal the PIN, and then offers the cardThe offender robs a victim standing at an ATM of various other valuables (wallet, watch, jewelry)The offender follows someone that has just withdrawn cash from an ATM and robs him or her ameans from the ATM.

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Tright here is some proof that offenders who commit street robbery (including ATM robbery) are different from those that commit commercial robbery. 4 We perform not recognize the extent to which ATM robbers commit various other types of street robberies, choose purse snatchings and muggings. Street robbers are notoriously challenging to deter. They need relatively little quantities of cash to justify their risk, they have actually many crime avenues, they desire cash automatically, and street robbery does not require a lot skill or planning.5 Some robbers will adapt to technical prevention actions, finding methods to circumvent them.6 For instance, security equipment could lead robbers to disguise themselves.