Heist syndicates shifting to ATMs

2008-07-15 00:00

THE rise in ATM bombings can be attributed to the shift in crime trends, a senior researcher with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Dr Johan Burger, told The Witness yesterday. “Crime as a phenomenon shifts all the time,” he said.

Burger said there is a correlation between the decrease in bank robberies and cash-in-transit heists and increases in ATM bombings.

“There has been a 15% decline in cash-in-transit heists in the past financial year. On the other hand, 254 ATM bombings were recorded from January 2008 to mid-June.

“We believe that there is a correlation between the decrease in heists and the increase in ATM bombings.”

Burger said criminal syndicates are seeking easier targets.

“Syndicates who were involved in cash heists and bank robberies moved to softer targets. ATMs are softer targets because they are located to be accessible to the public and also to criminals.”

Efforts to curb the spate of ATM bombings require co-operation between financial institutions and the police. Burger said that while strategies are being devised to stop ATM bombings, it will take some time until they take effect.

“I am aware that there is co-operation between the banks, cash-in-transit companies and the police.

“Special committees have been set up to improve security … but there are a number of syndicates … so it will take a while until most of them have been shut down.”

He said there has been work behind the scenes to increase security in ATMs. “Sophisticated surveillance cameras have been put up at ATMs … and there has been a lot more done … that the public is not aware of,” said Burger.

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