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Your analysis of your local problem should give you a better understanding of the factors contributing to it. Once you have analyzed your local problem and established a baseline for measuring effectiveness, you should consider possible responses to address the problem.
The following response strategies provide a foundation of ideas for addressing your particular problem. These strategies are drawn from a variety of research studies and police reports. Several of these strategies may apply to your community's problem. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem. Do not limit yourself to considering what police can do: give careful consideration to who else in your community shares responsibility for the problem and can help police better respond to it.
No federal law prohibits minimum security standards to protect ATM users;§ several states and a few cities have passed their own laws mandating minimum security standards for ATMs.§§ Most of these laws set minimum standards for lighting, landscaping, visibility, security reviews, and customer safety tips. The state of New York's law requires, in addition, surveillance cameras and locked vestibule doors that require an ATM card to access. Some laws provide for fines against ATM operators for violations of the standards. Some require annual compliance certifications for each ATM. If securitystandard laws are enacted, adequate resources must be dedicated to inspection and compliance enforcement.§§§ Under some state laws, ATM operators who comply with the security standards are statutorily protected from civil liability. Some laws apply retroactively to all ATMs; others, only to new ATMs.
§ Federal law would probably preempt state and local law, and state law usually preempts local law. Some legal commentators believe that current federal law already preempts state law, but as yet, no court has made such a determination (Knapp 1996).
§§ The state of California (Cal. Fin. Code §13000–070) and the city of New York (N.Y. Admin. Code §10–160) pioneered minimum security standards for ATMs. Among the other states that have enacted similar laws are Nevada (Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§660.115–.235), Washington (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §19.174), Oregon (Or. Rev. Stat. §714.280–.315), Georgia (Ga. Code. Ann. §§7–8–1 to 8–8), Louisiana, Maryland (Md. Code Ann., Fin. Inst. §1–207), Florida (Fla. Stat. Ann. §§655.960–.965), Illinois, New York, and New Jersey.
§§§ New York City documented poor security conditions through a careful survey of ATM sites before enacting its legislation (City Council of New York 1991). City legislators have expressed concern that when the state assumed responsibility for enforcing the minimum ATM security standards in 1996, it failed to adequately fund the monitoring and enforcement function (City Council of New York 1998).
There are both positive and negative implications for specific security standards. Highly specific standards leave little room for debate about compliance, but they also inhibit technological innovations that could provide more security than mandated by the minimum standards.72. Using civil liability. Although police do not play a direct role in civil lawsuits resulting from ATM robberies, you should understand that ATM operators and premise owners carefully consider their civil liability when deciding where to place ATMs and what security measures to adopt. Much of the published literature addresses ATM security from a legal-liability perspective. Statutory and case law on liability for injuries sustained during ATM transactions varies across jurisdictions, so you should consult local legal counsel if you wish to know how the law applies in your jurisdiction. As a general proposition in the United States, courts take into account the knowledge that ATM operators had, or should have had, about the risk of robbery at particular ATMs when determining their liability for victims' injuries. Consequently, ATM operators are advised to consult frequently with local police about reports of crime around ATMs. Courts will usually hold ATM operators to the industry standards for basic crime prevention measures, although establishing liability also turns on other legal issues.§
§ Among the legal issues concerning ATM operators' civil liability are the foreseeability that the crime would occur; the standard for determining foreseeability; the victim's expectation of protection; and the various liability of the institution operating the ATM, any ATM network involved, the owner of the premise where the ATM is located, and the victim.
ATM operators should consider security as well as marketing in deciding where to install ATMs. The most commonly mentioned ATM robbery prevention measures in the literature are those that will be familiar to crime prevention through environmental design practitioners—lighting, landscaping and location.§§ ATM sites should be inspected regularly to ensure that safety features have not become compromised. ATM operators, police and bank regulators all should share responsibility for monitoring compliance.
§§ For a review of the crime prevention value of street lighting and closed-circuit television (CCTV), see Painter and Tilley (1999)[Full text].
Lighting and placement enhance security of ATMs
§§§ Typical minimums are 10 foot-candles within five feet of the ATM, and two foot-candles 50 to 60 feet away from the ATM, measured at three feet above the ground (Ellis 1996; CUNA Service Group 1999; Illinois Office of Banks and Real Estate 1999[Full text]).According to lighting designers, however, most minimum lighting standards do not address all the factors that affect visibility. Shadows, light types, light colors, light-source direction, light uniformity, glare, and obstructions all affect visibility for the observer.8 A qualified lighting designer should plan ATM lighting. Lights should turn on automatically via photo sensors rather than by manual or timer switches. Light levels, once set properly, should be monitored regularly to ensure they do not fall below acceptable levels. Long-lasting light bulbs should be used. Automated light-detection monitors can alert the ATM operator if light levels drop. Light fixtures must be adequately protected so that offenders cannot disable them.
§ Anne Arundel County, Maryland, installed ATMs in all its police stations in response to a rash of ATM robberies (Morgan 1997).
ATM users should further be advised to close any vestibule doors securely and not to open doors for others. In addition, signs at ATMs should state that the site is being surveilled by cameras.
Some victims resist during robberies either to protect their valuables or because they believe the offender is about to get violent. Some succeed in preventing the robbery through resistance, while others get injured or killed. Offenders want to get the crime over with quickly so they can escape. Any delay increases their nervousness and, therefore, the likelihood they will become violent. 17 Robbers are usually highly agitated and easily perceive the victim's actions as threatening.18 Drug and alcohol use will obviously influence their emotional state. Some use violence immediately to preempt any resistance. In cases with multiple offenders, the risk of violence increases because each offender is also concerned about appearing tough and in control to the other(s).19
As with other violent crimes, victims should assess the particular situation, taking account of nearby assistance, weapons they are threatened with, offenders' behavior and emotional state, their own defensive abilities, and their own psychological need to resist. Given an imperfect understanding of why robbers become violent, compliance is usually the safer course of action for victims, and the best advice for police to offer.20 Widespread victim compliance, however, undoubtedly leads some offenders to perceive lower risk and, therefore, increases their ATM robbery rates.
§ For a thorough discussion of the principles of repeat offender programs and descriptions of model programs, see Spelman (1990). See also Problem-Solving Tools Guide No. 11, Analyzing and Responding to Repeat Offending.There are limits, however, to what arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating ATM robbers can do to prevent ATM robbery. Most street robbers are so highly motivated to get quick cash that they discount the likelihood of getting caught and sent to jail.31
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