Most Dutch ATMs to be closed overnight due to explosion thefts
Cash machines in the Netherlands will largely be out of service every overnight from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., the Dutch Banking Association (NVB) said on Monday. The ATMs will be switched off in an effort to prevent thefts where criminals use explosives as a way to break into the cash machines.
Many ATMs will be moved out of residential buildings and more densely populated areas. to limit damage from the resultant explosions. There have been 71 such attacks on ATMs in the Netherlands in 2019 through this past weekend. For all of 2018 there were 43 attacks.
Most of the ATM bombings this year, up through November, focused on ABN Amro's machines due to a vulnerability. It led the bank to remove about 470 of its cash machines across the Netherlands, though officials said it was likely other banks would be attacked instead. A string of attacks followed involving Rabobank ATMs.
In many instances, the machines are filled with flammable gas or explosives when the metal slot opens during a transaction. The combustible material is then detonated in an attempt to obtain that magazines full of banknotes inside the machines.
The NVB did not say if this was the reason for switching the machines off overnight, saying only, "The security features in ATMs remain unaffected." The NVB added, "The deactivated ATMs are less accessible, which means that [an explosive theft] is less likely to succeed."
All ATMs belonging to banks, as well as those from the bank-owned organization Geldmaat, will go into standby mode overnight. The NVB said it was a temporary measure until a better solution is found by the banks, Geldmaat, the Dutch Central Bank, and the Ministries of Finance and Security & Justice.
Although no cash withdrawals or deposits will be possible at most conventional ATMs, the new restriction will not affect the opening times of safes used for overnight business customers making deposits with tamperproof bags.
In case of explosion, the organizations are also working together to figure out how to make money taken in the thefts completely unusable. The NVB hopes this will disincentivize the violent crimes from taking place in the future.