Our family is at the center of our personal universe. Most people would do almost anything for the sake of their family. That includes protecting them from known dangers and harm. This becomes increasing difficult, at times, because we live in an open society where we share the same public places as the violent criminals like at outdoor bank ATM machines.
Family Security Plan
Whenever your family walks out the front door they leave that zone of protection that you have created. The secret to keeping your family reasonable safe once they leave home is to have a family security plan. To develop a family security plan you must give careful thought to the public routines of each family member and think of ways to make them safer from the violent people in the world. The best way to accomplish this is to hold a family meeting to discuss this plan and play what if using different scenarios. For example, what if we need to use the bank ATM machine? What steps should we take to make the process safer? What precautions can we take to be safer in the parking lot? What if someone approaches to rob us while using the ATM machine? What would we do and how would we react? Where would we go and who would we notify in case of emergency?
Most people have no such family plan and have not met as a family to discuss what if situations. When or if a criminal assault does occur, the family will not be prepared and will have to rely on instinct in response to the incident. What if their response instincts are wrong or their reactions inappropriate, under the circumstances? We read about these all the time in the newspaper or hear about them on television, for example, where a man refuses to cooperate with the robber, only to be shot and killed. We have also become aware of incidents where someone using an ATM machine was kidnapped.
Bank ATM Machines
ATM cash machines have been incorporated in our way of life. They offer a real convenience to those on the run but at the same time offer an element of risk. Using an ATM machine safely requires awareness and a little planning. Just because an ATM machine is open and available 24-hours a day doesn't mean it is safe to use it. Most ATM robberies occur at night between 8:00 PM and midnight. Bank ATM robbers are usually males under 25 years of age and most work alone. ATM robbers usually position themselves nearby waiting for a victim to approach and withdraw cash. Most ATM robbery victims are women and were alone when robbed. Most claim that they never saw the robber coming. Most ATM robbers used a gun or claimed to have a concealed weapon when confronting the victim and demanding their cash.
If you or your family members use ATM cash machines on a regular basis, here are some tips that can make the process a little safer. Use only ATM machines in well-lighted, high-traffic areas. Don't use ATM machines that are remote or hidden such as being located behind buildings, behind pillars or away from public view. Beware of obvious hiding places like shrubbery or overgrown trees. ATM robbers like to have the element of surprise with no witnesses.
Get a list of ATM locations from your bank and keep it in your car. Choose an ATM that looks and 'feels' safer, even if it is a couple of miles out of the way. Try and limit your use to daylight hours. When you drive up to an ATM location, scan the area for any suspicious persons. If you see anyone suspicious standing nearby or sitting alone in a car, don’t hesitate to drive away. Listen to your 'gut' instinct. When you approach an bank ATM on foot be prepared and have your access card ready. After inserting your card and your PIN number keep an eye out behind you. If anyone suspicious or seemingly dangerous approaches terminate your transaction and leave immediately, even if it means leaving your ATM card in the machine. When you receive cash from the machine don't openly count it...put it away immediately, extract your card, and walk away.
If you use your car at a bank drive-thru ATM machine the same rules apply. Make sure there are no obvious hiding places or suspicious persons loitering in the area. If there are, listen to your gut instinct and drive away. Keep the car in gear, doors locked, with your foot firmly on the brake, while using the ATM machine. Keep a close eye on your rear and side view mirrors during the transaction. Robbers almost always approach from the rear on the drivers’ side. If you see anyone approaching, drive off even if it means leaving your ATM card behind. You can always retrieve it later or cancel the card. If you are confronted by an armed robber, just give up your money without argument. The cash is not worth serious injury or death.
- Only use ATM machines in a well-lighted, open, high-traffic area during the daytime
- ATM machines in supermarkets are safer for nighttime use
- Avoid ATM machines adjacent to obvious hiding places
- When you approach an ATM scan the area first for loiterers
- Have your card ready and leave quickly, not counting your cash in public
- Walk or drive away immediately if your instincts tell you so
- Don't argue with a robber, if confronted, and give up the cash
- Don't fight with or attempt to follow the robber
- Drive to a safe place and immediately call the police
For More Information:
Family Security ATM Machines