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Tough trends for ATMs.

Three days after Christmas at 2:00 am in midtown Manhattan Sergeant Keith Levine, a 27-year-old New York City police officer, was off duty and driving home with two friends. With a practiced police officer's eye, Levine glimpsed a man and a woman robbing an ATM customer on 57 Street. * Levine stopped his car, told his friends to remain in the vehicle, and chased one of the suspects on foot. Levine and the male robber exchanged gunshots. Levine, hit in the chest and stomach, fell to the pavement. He died within the hour. * Levine's death was an ATM-related crime tragedy. It was later revealed that the man who was being robbed at the ATM was attempting to use a stolen ATM card. * Levine's beyond-the-call-of-duty death added dramatic impetus to one of six major trends for ATM security in 1990s--legislatively mandated ATM security standards. In October 1991, the New York City Council received a proposal cosponsored by 26 to 51 council members that, if adopted, will become America's most demanding ATM security law on the books at this time.

The requirements of the bill (Int. No. 787-A) are as follows:

* no new outdoor ATM locations in New York City

* adequate lighting around existing outdoor ATMs, their parking lots, and the interior portions of buildings where ATMs are accessible after hours

* a surveillance camera and recorder at every New York City ATM

* card access entry doors to outdoor ATMs for after-hours use

* at least one glass exterior wall at the ATM enclosures

* reflective mirrors mounted above ATMs to allow the customer a rear view of the surrounding area

* a sign stating the following: the ATM is monitored for security, customers must close the entry door completely before using the machine, customers must pocket their cash securely before leaving the ATM, and where complaints about ATM safety should be directed

* each ATM cardholder be given a written copy of basic ATM safety information

* penalties of up to $500 for a first violations of rules, up to $1,000 for a second violation, and a minimum of $2,000 for a third and subsequent violations (Banks would be given three days to correct a violation.)

ATM security legislation in just one of the six major trends facing ATM security in the '90s. It became a reality in August 1990 when California became the first major US jurisdiction to establish legislatively required ATM security standards. California Assembly Bill 244 set technical standards for lighting at the machine's face (10 footcandles), up to 50 feet away from the machine (2 footcandles), and in the nearest parking area designated for ATM users (2 footcandles).

The bill also required ATM customer safety education, excellent visibility of the ATM from the nearest street or sidewalk, and operator consideration of violent crimes in the immediate neighborhood around the ATM.

Less than six months after California Assembly Bill 244 was passed, Nevada copied the California ATM security legislation and adopted Nevada Senate Bill 267. California and Nevada clearly established the precedent of mandating ATM security standards through legislation.

The New York bill mentioned earlier would dramatically extend the power of local government to regulate security in a banking enterprise, going far beyond what any federal banking regulation currently requires for ATM security.

Interestingly, almost every ATM security legislation proposal in America has followed the "ATM crime crisis cycle." In this cycle, four distinct phases occur.

Phase I. An ATM crime incident occurs, often involving a legislator, a legislator's staffer, or a legislator's constituent as the ATM robbery victim. For example, council member Ronnie Eldridge, one of the New York bill's cosponsors, had been victimized at an ATM less than a year prior to the bill's introduction.

Phase I of the cycle may involve an ATM-related crime tragedy that receives intensive media coverage, such as the murder of Dana Feitler near an ATM in Chicago in June 1989.

Phase II. A legislative remedy, frequently involving physical security improvements at ATMs, is introduced.

Phase III. Both broadcast and print media demonstrate a heightened interest in and coverage of any ATM-related offense occurring locally.

Phase IV. Hearings, fact-finding efforts, and quantifiable research on the frequency and characteristics of ATM crimes in the jurisdiction begin.

A SECOND MAJOR ATM SECURITY TREND for the '90s will be the expansion of quantifiable data about ATM-related offenses. The majority of quantifiable, detailed research about ATM crime has come from parallel national surveys of bank security records conducted by the Bank Administration Institute (BAI)(1) and the American Bankers Association (ABA)(2) in 1987 and again in 1989.

These surveys have provided invaluable data about the incidence of ATM crime and several of the characteristics of ATM crimes as well. Consider the following examples:

* Ninety-six percent of the crimes involve a single ATM customer victim.

* About 50 percent of the crimes occur between 7:00 pm and 12:00 am.

* Most of the crimes began as the customer was using the ATM (54 percent) or leaving the ATM (33 percent).

* Customers refused or resisted the perpetrator in 13 percent of the incidents.

* Customers were injured in about 14 percent of the crimes.

In addition to ATM crime data from bank security records, major police departments have now begun subcategorizing robberies by ATM type.

The Los Angeles police department recently has begun such record keeping, and the New York City police department has recorded 632 ATM crimes in the 21 months following its start of ATM crime record keeping in January 1990. These data should provide critical details about the anatomy of the typical ATM crime and suggest effective countermeasures.

Other quantifiable research using law enforcement and other public agency records is expected to appear in the 1990s. My research detailing characteristics of more than 450 ATM crimes reported to law enforcement agencies in America will soon be released.

The New York City Council Legislative Oversight and Investigation Unit recently completed a survey of 231 24-hour ATM sites in New York.(3) The following are a few of the survey's findings:

* Lighting inside ATM facilities was considered good at 95 percent of the locations, but 26 percent of indoor ATM locations had broken or faulty vestibule entry locks, allowing access to the facility to anyone who wanted access.

* Only 22 percent of the 231 ATM facilities surveyed had security cameras trained on the ATM machine, but 75 percent of the ATM sites had a telephone or intercom providing access to bank personnel.

* Ten of the ATM sites surveyed had uniformed security officers adjacent to the ATM machine.

The expansion of quantifiable data in the 1990s will be a necessary part of understanding ATM crime and will shaped the number and type of ATM crime countermeasures that will be deployed in the future.

A THIRD ATM-RELATED TREND FOR THE '90s will be the expanded use of litigation in ATM customer robberies where injury occurs.

A telling statistic was revealed in the first and second national surveys of ATM crimes by BAI. The 1987 BAI survey showed less than 1 percent of ATM crimes reported to bank security involved litigation. By 1989, 11 percent of the incidents reported to bank security involved litigation.

The largest of all known ATM litigation settlements to date is $1 million and went to Anthony Verran. He was shot in the head on February 20, 1986, at approximately 11:30 pm while making a deposit adjacent to a Florida bank ATM site.

Litigation prevention will provide another motivation for identifying the characteristics of ATM crime and taking effective countermeasures against it.

A FOURTH ATM SECURITY TREND FOR THE '90s will be improved security at and around on-premises, vestibule-protected, and off-premises ATMs. A major question remains whether these security improvements will be made on a blanket or site-specific basis depending on documented need.

Blanket security improvements may occur due to ATM security legislation, the major banks' policies, or the adoption of ATM network safety standards. The first ATM network safety standards have just appeared, adopted by Magic Line(4) based in Michigan. Other networks will no doubt follow suit during the remainder of the '90s for protection.

Site-specific ATM security improvements may come based on ATM crime incidents or a quantifiable assessment of crime risk in the immediate (one-block radius) neighborhood around each ATM. Site-specific risk assessment data may come from financial institution security records, law enforcement reported crime data, or crime risk analyses projected by private companies from the US Census and other demographic data for each ATM location.(5)

Improved ATM security will likely come from three major factors:

* Physical security devices. Improved lighting will present a deterrent to some would-be ATM robbers and allow ATM customers to make a better assessment of the crime risk at ATMs during after-hours transactions that they make.

Better lighting also will enhance many ATM transaction and surveillance camera photographs. ATM camera photos have been dramatically helpful in apprehending ATM robbers.

Quality ATM photographs of crime perpetrators have been used by the police and media in many states, including California, Alabama, and Florida, to provide identification of an ATM offender. Although questionable as crime deterrents, ATM crime photos have proven a useful aid in investigating crimes that occur at and around the ATM.

* Operational policies and procedures. These is a second major area in which improved ATM security will occur. For example, policies may respond to ATM crime by after-hours closure of specific ATMs where security problems have occurred. Proactive security policies also may be adopted, such as regular monitoring of lighting and security hardware at ATMs to ensure they are functioning properly.

* Customer safety education. Customer safety education is the third major factor in which ATM security will be improved. A number of items have already been identified for making customers aware of their security at and around ATMs. These include ATM safety "statement stuffers" included with monthly account information mailed to ATM cardholders, safety reminders printed on ATM card jackets, receipts, and deposit envelopes, security reminders on signs posted at ATM sites, and reminder messages on the screens.

In addition, one ATM network is producing a public service announcement for television to remind customers of the risks and appropriate security actions to take when using ATMs.

A FIFTH TREND FOR THE '90S IS IN NEW threats to ATM customers, ATM service teams, and ATMs themselves.

ATM security planners will have to be aware of the ATM specialist robber. In Los Angeles, for example, Curtis Taylor, a 34-year-old alleged cocaine addict, is believed to have robbed more than 50 people at Los Angeles-area ATMs. Taylor was apprehended and convicted on 37 ATM robbery and attempted robbery charges and received a 28-year prison sentence. Obviously, ATM specialist robbers such as Taylor can account for a significant share of ATM crime in any one city.

A second troublesome finding for ATM customers comes from the National Institute of Justice research on drug use of arrestees in America. In a January-March 1991 study,(6) 60 percent or more of all male booked arrestees in Atlanta, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Chicago, San Diego, and Philadelphia tested positive for drug use at the time of their arrest.

Assuming ATM robbers are similar to other street offenders, a majority of ATM robberies may be perpetrated by people under the influence of drugs. The deterrent effect of any system of ATM security devices on perpetrator in desperate need of drugs or feeling high on drugs is unknown but may be minimal in the overall problem

Threats on ATM service teams come from a variety of sources. Two Wells Fargo ATM maintenance and repair technicians from North Carolina were arrested in September 1991 at a Colorado ski resort after they were caught stealing more than $700,000 from ATMs in North Carolina to which the pair had access codes and vault keys. The men, who were well regarded by their employers, had taken money from about 16 ATMs in the Raleigh-Chapel Hill, NC, area during a Labor Day weekend.

In the Los Angeles area, a female ATM technician was one of five persons arrested in connection with eight recent ATM service team robberies that netted $200,000. Insider information, insider theft, and staged robberies of service teams will continue in the '90s.

Much more tragic is the loss of life of ATM servicers. Angie Drake, a 23-year-old unarmed Pinkerton security officer, was shot to death in Greenville, SC, in November 1991 as she was about to service an ATM. She was killed by a single perpetrator.

The perpetrator was seen walking calmly into the woods nearby after the shooting. Six hours later, after a hunt involving officers on foot and a police helicopter with infrared sensors, a 17-year-old man matching the suspect's description was found about one mile from the crime scene lying on his back with a 9-millimeter automatic to his head. Police eventually shot the gun out of his hand. The man was arrested and taken to the hospital. In conclusion, no money was lost during what appears to have been an attempted ATM service team robbery.

The theft of entire ATM machines will continue. The work of a New England ATM gang who stole ATMs after store hours from supermarkets in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for more than a year beginning in 1990 seems to have ended with the arrest of three men in late September. The men are believed to have been involved in more than a dozen thefts of entire ATM machines.

Publicity in The Wall Street Journal and other prominent media sources has suggested the possibility of theft of off-premises ATMs to thieves in several states. Similar thefts of ATM machines have been reported in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Missouri. The issue of anchoring and appropriately alarming off-premises ATMs is highlighted.

THE SIXTH TREND IN ATM SECURITY IS continued and expanded cooperation between public law enforcement and private security officials. The timely sharing of information regarding ATM crimes against customers, service teams, and ATM machines is vital to apprehending offenders.

This public and private sector partnership, such as suggested in the Operation Cooperation program of the American Society for Industrial Security, is recommended.

One example of this cooperation was the 1990 publication of the first ATM Crime Training Bulletin by the Chicago police department for its in-service officers.(7)

With more than 90,000 ATMs in service in America and more than 500,000,000 ATM-usable cards, threats to and attacks on this electronic funds transfer system are inevitable.

Close cooperation between the public and private sectors in the 1990s will maximize the security of millions of ATM cardholders and minimize the success of criminal threats. (1)ATM Crimes Bulletin Number 2 (Rolling Meadows, IL: Bank Administration Institute, 1987); M. Van der Velde, M. Chiappetta, and J. Shields, Second National Survey on ATM Security (Rolling Meadows, IL: Bank Administration Institute, 1989). (2)ATM Crime Survey Report (Washington, DC: American Bankers Association, 1987); ATM Crime Report 1989 (Washington, DC: American Bankers Association, 1990). (3)J. Drapkin, C. McAlevey and R. Berger, Report on ATM Security to the Council of the City of New York Committee on Public Safety (New York: The Council of the City of New York Legislative Oversight and Investigation Unit, December 9, 1991). (4)ATM Security Principles for Consideration (Dearborn, MI: Magic Line Inc., January 1992). (5)One such quantifiable risk analysis for ATM sites is done by CAP (Crimes Against Persons) Index (King of Prussia, PA), using demographic, geophysical, and population data to predict crime risk vulnerability at specific address locations. (6)C. DeWitt, Drug Use Forecasting Research Update--First Quarter 1991 (Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, November 1991). (7)L. Martin and R. Watson, "Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)," Chicago Police Department Training Bulletin (Chicago: Chicago Police Department, [undated]). F. Barry Schreiber, PhD, is a professor of criminal justice at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN. Schreiber has served on two national task forces on ATM security, has contributed a chapter, "ATM-Related Crime," to BAI's ATM Security Handbook (1988), and is the author of ATM Security in the 1990s. He is also the editor and publisher of the monthly ATM Crime and Security Newsletter. Schreiber is a member of ASIS.
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Title Annotation:automated teller machines
Author:Schreiber, F. Barry
Publication:Security Management
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Previous Article:Computer Abuse Investigator.
Next Article:Security's minding the mint.

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