Ein a bang, a tremor, and then the plaster comes from the ceiling: When ATMs are blown up, the entire buildings in which the machines are located are increasingly affected – with dangers also for bystanders. The banks want to react to this now, as the R + V insurance of the cooperative banking sector announced on Wednesday.
The difficulties with the many ATMs blown up in Germany would have worsened. “Criminals are increasingly using solid explosives, no longer gas, to crack ATMs,” writes the insurance company. This means that a precautionary measure that the banks have been using to protect themselves against such criminals is largely ineffective: systems for neutralizing gas that had been built into many ATMs were understandably of no use in such cases.
One consequence: more and more banks have moved their ATMs outside the bank, as the insurance company writes. So that the devices are not blown up again immediately, after all, they are even more accessible there than in the bank lobby, the Volksbanken-Versicherung and the Veloform company, otherwise a manufacturer of mobile mini-hotels, have a kind of “bunker” Developed for ATMs: free-standing pavilions with very strong protection.
The ring-shaped structures are made of reinforced concrete up to 15 centimeters thick and weigh ten tons. Inside is the ATM. Bank customers can access the keyboard and cash dispenser through a kind of window. “The material is similar to a bunker, nothing can be achieved with conventional explosives,” says Anselm Franz, managing director of the manufacturer Veloform.
Parts of the wall fly into the air
In its current federal situation report, the Federal Criminal Police Office reported a sharp increase in the number of explosives being detonated. Overall, the number of ATM explosions increased from 349 to 414 in the past year. “We are therefore constantly refining security concepts and developing them further – together with the Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken,” said Frank Lohmeier, risk advisor at R + V-Versicherung.
In the case of solid explosives, the force of the explosion does not only destroy the ATM. In the bank branches, the glass fronts were often broken, parts of the wall flew through the air, whole parts of the building would be massively damaged. “The damage caused by such an explosion quickly amounts to some 100,000 euros – that is often more than the criminals steal in cash,” said Lohmeier. Residents of adjoining apartments are also “massively endangered” by the criminals, which is why they looked for alternatives.
Concept so far successful
“We were looking for a solution outside the bank branches and came across the free-standing pavilions,” said Lohmeier. These would be set up in places with sufficient safety distance from the surrounding houses.
At least so far, the experiences have been very positive. “The perpetrators can no longer get the loot,” says Veloform managing director Franz. A first attempt by criminals to detonate such a pavilion has already failed: “There was not a single crack in the concrete.”
The interest of the banks in the new ATM bunkers is great, said Franz: “We are currently overrun with inquiries.”