Downtown Los Angeles header image
Los Angeles Police Department Memorial BadgeLos Angeles Police Department Badge


News Release

Thursday, November 15, 2001

Media Relations

Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Crime Prevention

"Automated Teller Machine ("ATM") Crime Prevention"


Los Angeles: The primary purpose of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Crime Prevention Circular is safety. Surveys have shown that there has been very little change in the reported crime rate at ATMs over the last decade and that the occurrence of this crime has a low probability. A person is more likely to be the victim of a street robbery or involved in a traffic collision, than, the victim of an ATM crime. In fact, ATM crime incidents are on a downward trend due to heightened user awareness and prevention applications. However, low probability odds and statistics are a moot point to those who suffer the trauma of an ATM crime.

The following crime prevention tips can help make the use of ATMs safer for everyone.

  • Do not select an ATM at the corner of a building. Corners create a blind area in close proximity to the customer's transaction. Select an ATM located near the center of a building. An ATM further from the corner reduces the element of surprise by an assailant;

  • Select an ATM at a location, void of barriers blocking the line of sight of the ATM. This includes shrubbery, landscaping, signs and decorative partitions or dividers. Barriers provide hiding areas for would-be assailants;

  • Select an ATM that is in a well-lit location;

  • Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Do not become so involved with your transaction that you are not aware of changing conditions around you;

  • Memorize your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Do not write it down or keep it in your wallet or purse. Do not tell anyone else your PIN;

  • Make sure you retain your transaction receipt. Do not throw the receipt away at the ATM site;

  • When leaving an ATM location make sure you are not being followed. If you are being followed, drive immediately to a police, sheriff, or fire station, or any crowded well-lit location or open business. Flash your lights and sound your horn to bring attention to your situation; and

  • If you are involved in a confrontation and the attacker is armed with a weapon and demands your money or valuables, COMPLY.

Commander Sharon Papa, the Department spokesperson, stated "This information is offered to contribute to your personal security while conducting ATM transactions. As far as your security is concerned, you can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware.

Share this information with family and friends. Schedule family discussions and practice regularly to ensure that everyone you know is safe and informed."

There are many more helpful hints and facts outlined in the LAPD’s "Automated Teller Machine Crime Prevention Circular." For more information, or to obtain copies of Crime Prevention Circulars, contact the Community Liaison/Crime Prevention Unit, at 213-485-3134, or click here for Crime Prevention Tips.

This press release was prepared by Officer Guillermo Campos, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.