We’ve all seen the news stories about ATM thefts from corner stores, gas stations and cash stores, but it may surprise you to hear that this type of criminal activity is not only becoming more prevalent, but hotels are common targets. More than 130 ATMs in over 60 communities across the province were stolen in 2016. Most, if not all of these machines are privately owned, and many of the thefts occurred in small, rural communities where it can take longer for the local police to respond to a 911 call. What can you do to protect yourself from a crime that introduces significant damage to your property and loss of both time and reputation? Here are a few suggestions….
Start by making it as difficult as possible to remove the ATM from your property. Secure it to the structure in some way, and ensure it is located away from a door or any large windows where it is easier to pull it free and make a quick escape. It’s also advisable to ensure the ATM is located in an area that can be monitored by property staff. This is critical not only to avoid theft of the machine, but also for the protection of ATM users. Avoid tucking it into a corner where criminals and their activities will be hidden from view, and ensure anyone using the machine has a clear line of sight all around them.
Experts also highly recommend the use of security cameras to monitor the ATM. The cameras themselves may act as a deterrent, and if thieves are bold enough to attempt an ATM theft despite the surveillance, camera monitoring systems are now available from your phone or tablet that allow for regular checks on the machine from anywhere. The system may also be set up to send a notification to your phone if any unusual activity is occurring.
Depending on your situation, you may opt to outfit your ATM with an alarm system. If you do so, ensure you post signage warning of the alarm, as this may help deter would-be thieves from a criminal attempt that may succeed only in damaging the device or surrounding property. It’s worth noting that ATM alarms must be registered, and require a city permit.
Lastly, consider installing a GPS tracker inside the machine. While this measure won’t prevent the theft itself, it may at least allow recovery of the stolen property and apprehension of the perpetrators.
ATMs are an attractive target for would-be felons looking for easy money. Doing everything you can to control for the hazards introduced by having an ATM in your workplace protects your staff, your guests and your property from the impacts of a crime that is becoming more and more commonplace in Alberta.