Amsterdam hires security guards to prevent ATM bombings

ABN Amro ATMs in Amsterdam
ABN Amro ATMs in AmsterdamiampixelsDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The municipality of Amsterdam hired private security guards to keep an eye on ATMs in the city in an effort to prevent criminals trying to blow them open with explosives. The security guards will park their vehicles near ATMs at random times during the night, reports.

"It's part of the annual Dark Days Offensive", a spokesperson for mayor Femke Halsema said to the newspaper. "The municipality and police then take a number of extra measures. From 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. we deploy private surveillance to, among other things, shopping streets and squares in the context of robbery prevention. During the night, we deploy them to ATMs, in collaboration with the banks, but also at nuisance locations."

Last week Halsema announced that she was considering the "deployment of private security guards". She said this in a letter announcing changes and cuts to the police teams in the city, in order to cope with a chronic shortage of police officers. Private security could "help reduce the capacity problem and thereby reduce the pressure on the police", she said. 

ABN Amro also announced last week that it is closing dozens of ATMs, due to increasing bombings leading to unsafe situations. An inventory by NOS showed that a total of 62 ATM bombings were committed in the Netherlands up to the last week in November, some 40 percent more than last year. ABN Amro ATMs were most often targeted.