The purpose of this circular is to impart basic crime prevention techniques to reduce Automated Teller Machine (ATM) crime. The primary focus of the ATM Crime Prevention Program is user safety. Surveys have shown the reported crime rate at ATM's has changed little over the last decade and that this is a crime of low probability. A person using an ATM is more likely to be the victim of a street robbery or involved in a traffic collision than the victim of an ATM crime. In fact, ATM crime incidents are on a downward trend due to heightened user awareness and prevention applications. However, low probability odds and statistics are a moot point to those who suffer the trauma of ATM crime.
The media informs the public about important issues and events. Sometimes a negative side effect is produced when too much attention is focused on criminal events. Oftentimes, the public's perception is that crime is occurring at epidemic levels, with fear rising dramatically out of proportion to the reality of becoming a victim. The following crime prevention tips can help make the use of ATMís safer for everyone.
Because of the variety of ATMs, the unique characteristics of each installation, and crime considerations at each location, no single formula can guarantee the security of ATM customers. Therefore, it is necessary for ATM customers to consider the environment around each ATM and various procedures for remaining safe when using an ATM.
Perform mental exercises and think out what you would do in different crime or personal security situations. Follow your instincts. If you feel you are in danger, respond immediately. Remember that your personal safety is the first priority.
Criminals select their victims and targets, focusing on the unaware or unprepared. Criminals are also drawn to environmental conditions that enhance the opportunity to successfully complete their crime. The attitude and demeanor you convey can have a tremendous effect on potential assailants. There are a number of things you can do to increase your personal security and reduce your risk of becoming an ATM crime victim. Walk purposefully and with confidence. Give the appearance that you are totally aware of your surroundings. Be aware of your total environment and what is going on around you. Criminals tend to avoid people who have this type of demeanor.
ATM Selection Considerations
The law sets minimum standards for ATM lighting, procedures for evaluating the safety of ATM's and requires notices to ATM users outlining basic safety precautions for using ATM's.
Although ATM environmental design issues are covered in the law, there are other considerations that an ATM customer needs to consider prior to selecting and using an ATM.
Considerations prior to and during transactions
To reiterate, the foremost consideration is ATM user security. If confronted by an assailant, give up what they demand. Do not resist, property may be recovered later or replaced.
Do not be lulled into a false sense of security. Employing crime prevention techniques does not exempt you from crime. However, employing these techniques will significantly reduce your chance of becoming a crime statistic. Technology is not a guarantee of ATM user security. It is unlikely there will ever be any security device to prevent ATM related crimes of violence, but security products such as security lighting and wide-angle-transaction cameras, aid in the identification and apprehension of perpetrators. Most ATM's are properly placed and lighted.
The concern of ATM users should focus on the walkways, access and parking areas that provide areas of concealment for assailants. ATM crimes are predicated on opportunity and will continue as long as the criminals continue to invade our society. Do not provide any opportunity that increases your risk of becoming a victim. Alter your habits and offer yourself as an undesirable target.
This information is offered to contribute to your personal security while conducting ATM transactions. As far as your security is concerned, you can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware. Share this information with family and friends. Schedule family discussions and practice regularly to ensure that everyone you know is safe and informed.