ATM bombers will target other banks after ABN Amro's ATM closures, police expect

Emergency services at the scene of a failed ATM bombing at an ABN Amro cash machine on Van Limburg Stirumstraat in Amsterdam, 30 Sept 2019
Emergency services at the scene of a failed ATM bombing at an ABN Amro cash machine on Van Limburg Stirumstraat in Amsterdam, 30 Sept 2019Politie

With ABN Amro closing a large number of their ATM's due to ATM bombings, thieves will very likely start targeting ATMs from other banks. "Experience shows that criminals will almost certainly do that", Jos van der Stap, national coordinator for robbery at the police, said to NU.nl.

According to Van der Stap, criminals have a method to blow open a certain type of ATM - the type ABN Amro uses. So far there were 62 ATM bombings in the Netherlands this year. 50 of them were aimed at ABN Amro. On Monday the bank announced that it is temporarily closing 470 of its ATMs. 

"The ATMs of this type were a structural target in the case of bombings by criminal gangs", ABN Amro said in a statement. "The escalating violence in crime is a major concern. The consequences of this are visible throughout society. Residents and entrepreneurs must be able to feel safe. That is why the bank had to take this temporary emergency measure."

Now that there are fewer ATMs of the commonly targeted type available, there is a "real risk" that these criminals will turn their attention to the types of ATMs used by other banks. "These criminals are always busy with how they can blow open ATMs and often continue until they find a way", Van der Stap said. "They continue, and the expectation that they will  look for other targets is quite high."

As long as there is money in ATMs, the machines will be an attractive target for criminals, according to Van der Stap. "You can strengthen ATMs more and more, but then you can expect that more and more violence will be used." He thinks the only solution is to make sure criminals can't get any money from an ATM - make sure the money is destroyed in a bombing. "We have to make sure that the spoils of an ATM bombing is zero."

 

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