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Updated: September 30, 2011 12:30 IST

ATMs soft targets for thieves

M. T. Shiva Kumar
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The absence of adequate security at Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in the city has made them soft targets of thieves. At least on 50 occasions, burglars have attempted to loot cash from ATMs in the last five years.

At least three security guards have been killed while resisting burglary. On two occasions, the thieves carted away two cash-laden ATMs.

The city has at least 4,000 ATMs. According to the city police, almost all nationalised, private and multinational banks have set up ATM kiosks in Bangalore. Most of them neither have adequate protection for the machines nor for the security guards, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Division) S.N. Sidramappa.

ATMs situated on the outskirts of the city and those along the outer and inner ring roads are most vulnerable.

Unguarded

Besides an armed security guard, ATM kiosks need highly advanced night vision CCTV cameras with sufficient storage capacity, burglar alarm, collapsible gate, automatic locks and sirens. But, most have withdrawn security guards from the kiosks.

“Instead of appointing well-trained and physically fit guards, banks have been opting to hire aged persons as they are ready to work for meagre salaries,” a police official said. Each ATM kiosk needs three security guards as per the existing labour laws since each can work for a maximum of eight hours a day. In all, at least 15,000 security guards are needed to man the ATMs, an assistant general manager of a nationalised bank, told The Hindu.

Cases

Though there have been attempts to loot ATMs, in most cases they have not succeeded. The machine will damage the currency notes if anyone tries to break open the machine. In three cases, two in Bangalore and one in Udupi, thieves carted away ATM machines and managed to rob the cash, the bank officer said.

He said there was a need to install technically advanced equipment including sensors in ATMs.

Types of ATMs

According to a Canara Bank official, banks usually classify ATMs as high, medium and no-risk kiosks. Banks will only hire security guards for high risk ATM centres, he said.

S. Bhandarkar, manager, Public Relations, SBM, said there was a need to upgrade the security system at ATMs and the bank will take necessary measures.

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