Walk into any ATM kiosk in the city and the first thing you will notice is a middle-aged guard and disorder among those waiting in line to draw money.
While the situation might sound harmless, consider this: the person standing behind you may be trying to note down your PIN, or may even be looking to steal your money.
The attack on a woman in Bangalore by a machete-wielding man at an ATM on Tuesday night has left many of the city’s denizens wondering how safe they were at these kiosks, especially at night.
“I stopped drawing money at night from ATMs because it is really unsafe. The security guard will always be sleeping on the floor, while someone else would be there inside. People really need to learn to wait till the person inside comes out,” says Habsiguda resident Preethi Reddy (24). She added that sometimes drunkards wait around ATMs at night, making things unsafe.
‘Arm the guards’
Private employee Ravindra Prasad feels that at least two security guards with weapons should be present at all times.
“At least a weapon should be given to the ones manning the machines,” Mr. Prasad said.
‘Security is expensive’
Security personnel, however, point out that all ATMs are insured, that thefts don’t occur regularly, so a few bad incidents do not really dent the bank’s cash. Hence, they minimise as much as they can to save money. V. Amarnath, vice-chairman of the Central Association of Private Security Industries (CAPSI), said discussions are on to enhance security measures at ATMs. Patrolling teams have been put on high alert.
“Banks such as State Bank of India, HDFC, Andhra Bank, ICICI, and IDBI have guards at the kiosks 24 hours. But a few others have personnel to man ATMs only from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.,” he stated.
A senior manager of a security agency, on condition of anonymity, said they were awaiting instructions from their clients, and the police, after which they will take up more measures necessary.