Technology is the answer to ATM bombings and cash-in-transit heists

November 2008 Products

Installing the right type of security technology can help banks and cash-in-transit companies fight this modern scourge.

The banking industry today faces tremendous security risks, and from a wide variety of sources – whether it is bank robberies, white collar crimes or unauthorised entries, or the much-publicised cash-in-transit heists and ATM bombings.

It is these latter two that demand particular attention, especially when one takes into consideration the fact that recent reports show that ATM bombings have increased by some 3000%, and costs banks millions of rands in repairing or replacing the machines, regardless of whether any money is stolen from the ATM itself.

To this end, banking groups and cash-in-transit service providers are increasingly embracing proactive, holistic security solutions that include surveillance, off-site monitoring and intelligent alarming capabilities.

According to Michael Brett, New Business Development Manager at Elvey Security Technologies, cutting-edge surveillance and monitoring technology can be used to counter the effects of these two deadly crime scourges.

Protecting ATMs

There are over 15 000 ATMs in SA, which indicates why criminals seem to consider these to be such likely targets for robbery, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the major banks, with First National Bank (FNB) announcing last year that it plans to spend some R66 million over the next three years to protect its ATMs.

Although the majority of ATM bombings are unsuccessful – the explosion attracts massive and instant attention to the scene – and even though safe technology has improved in recent years to the point where the safe will either be relatively undamaged or the money will be destroyed by the explosion, there remains a huge threat from this type of crime to life and limb.

Coupled to this is the substantial cost to the banking sector in terms of replacing damaged ATM equipment and the major disruption to banking and public business activities, and it is understandable that financial institutions would want the best security money can buy.

Brett points out that high on the list of cutting-edge crime solutions for banks are digital camera surveillance and recording systems, which are designed for use in both mobile and static applications.

“These solutions also have modern video compression formatting, which is able to deliver high quality video streaming on playback, and they support GPRS, GPS, GSM and dial-up connections with modems, as well as the use of TCP/IP for continuous monitoring.”

He says that because time is always of the essence in an emergency, the latest systems are able to send a signal via up to five different methods of communication, in order to ensure that the alarm signals reach the central monitoring station as quickly as possible. Brett believes that the growing presence of such off-site video and monitoring facilities is also something that plays a key role in making life more difficult for criminals, and it is for this reason that central monitoring stations are growing both in numbers and capability.

“Banks have also begun installing innovative systems with cameras that are able to monitor – with matchless clarity – the full range of ATM crimes, from robberies and card skimming to bombing attacks,” he says. “Realtime footage of any such incidents can therefore be sent to the control centres immediately, where trained operators can react instantly by quickly alerting the police and relevant armed response companies.”

He claims that another bonus is the fact that alarms can now be integrated with lighting systems, so that during an alarm situation, the lights are automatically switched on, thereby ensuring that the closed circuit television (CCTV) can obtain the best possible picture clarity, greatly improving the chances of a successful apprehension.

Cash-in-transit security

Cash-in-transit heists have become an even deadlier threat, having already claimed the lives of many security officers in the course of their duty; these robberies are another crime that is also costing the country millions of rands. According to Zane Greeff, Elvey’s technical director, service providers have begun to step up vehicle and officer security by using modern systems, with GPS and satellite tracking components, and also by making on- and off-site video surveillance of vehicles a reality.

“The use of mobile digital video recording (DVR) and surveillance systems in cash-in-transit vehicles is also growing rapidly, as people see the many benefits of this type of technology,” he says.

This solution offers cash-in-transit companies the ability to provide video recording during entire journeys – it is a security solution that is also used on ships, trucks and buses, to name a few – via local area networks, making it a critical element of safety surveillance.

“It even has additional benefits for the organisation, in that it can also act as a key management tool, thanks to its ability to provide vehicle and related information without any need for extra manpower, which in turn leads to improved quality control and service delivery.”

For more information contact Elvey Security Technologies, +27 (0)11 401 6700, lisa.venkatiah@elvey.co.za


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