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Robbery at Automated Teller Machines

NCJ Number
Michael S. Scott
Date Published
September 2001
44 pages
After presenting background information on the problem of robbery of people while they are using automated teller machines (ATM's) and night cash depositories, this guide provides suggestions for analyzing a local ATM robbery problem, and suggests problemsolving strategies based on evaluative research and police practice.
Current research on the prevalence of ATM robberies suggests that this crime is relatively rare; however, local analysis of ATM robberies will be required to determine how significant the problem is in a given jurisdiction. Understanding the factors that contribute to the local problem of ATM robberies will govern the framing of local analysis questions, determine measures of effectiveness, and assist in recognizing key intervention points and selecting appropriate responses. This guide outlines some critical questions local law enforcement agencies should attempt to answer as a basis for developing a response strategy. These questions pertain to the prevalence and nature of the incidents, the characteristics of the victims and the crimes, the characteristics of offenders and their robbery methods, locations/times, and current responses. Since the measurement of the effectiveness of any selected strategy is crucial to continuing and modifying it, the guide lists some potentially useful measure of the effectiveness of ATM robbery responses. The guide then presents and critiques strategies drawn from a variety of research studies and police reports. Some general responses are the imposition of mandatory minimum security standards for ATM operations and civil liability for ATM providers that do not comply with minimum security measures. Specific countermeasures discussed include the use of appropriate lighting, landscaping, and location; the implementation of public awareness and education initiatives; the use of surveillance; the targeting of offenders; and the hardening of targets. 36 notes, 35 references, and appended summary of responses to ATM robbery