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Automated Teller Machine Crime Prevention

The Baltimore County Police Department is offering basic crime prevention tips to help reduce the possibility of being a crime victim at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

Surveys have shown the reported crime rate at ATMs has changed little over the last decade and that this is a crime of low probability. In fact, ATM crimes are on a downward trend due to heightened user awareness and crime prevention.

Selecting an ATM Location

  • Avoid an ATM stationed at the corner of a building. Corners create a blind area in close proximity to the customer's transaction. Select an ATM located near the center of a building. An ATM further from the corner reduces the element of surprise by an assailant and increases the user's reaction time.
  • Choose an ATM in a high traffic area so that the criminal feels he will be detected by others and a possible crime will be witnessed.
  • Select an ATM without barriers that may block your sight and reduce others from seeing you should something happen. This includes shrubbery, landscaping, signs and decorative partitions or dividers. Barriers provide hiding areas for would-be assailants.
  • Use an ATM in a well-lit location and, when possible, monitored or patrolled by a security officer.
  • Check if there is a wide-angle transaction camera and a continuous transaction surveillance camera. Consult the bank or location management for this information.
  • Monitor crime trends in the area for possible crimes at ATM sites and surrounding neighborhoods.

Crime Prevention During Transactions

  • Prepare all transaction paperwork prior to your arrival at the ATM to minimize the amount of time spent at the ATM. Keep a small supply of deposit envelopes at home, in your car or office.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Do not become so involved with your transaction that you are not aware of changing conditions around you.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or taking other valuables to the ATM. This is an added incentive to a criminal.
  • Watch for anyone sitting in a parked car near the ATM location while you are making your transaction.
  • Make sure you're not followed when leaving the ATM. If you are followed, drive immediately to a police, sheriff or fire station, crowded area, well-lit location or open business. Flash your lights and beep your horn to bring attention to your situation.
  • Comply if a suspect demands your money or valuables. It's not worth being injured over items that can be replaced.

For questions, concerns or additional information, contact the Community Outreach Team at your local precinct or Officer Bryan Dietsch of the Community Services Section at 410-887-5901.

Revised June 2, 2017         


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