Fighting crime: ATMs blown up in Saxony-Anhalt

July 24, 2023

Following another ATM blast in Magdeburg, Minister of the Interior Dr. Tamara Zieschang again points out the dangers associated with these crimes: “Last year, there were a total of almost 500 ATM blasts nationwide – in Saxony-Anhalt we had nine. Each blast poses immense dangers. Since the perpetrators have been increasingly using fixed explosives for some time now, it is not only property damage that has increased. The danger to people in particular has increased – i.e., to residents, uninvolved third parties and emergency forces.”

Since combating the phenomenon cannot be done by the security authorities alone, the banking and ATM manufacturers are equally called upon. For this reason, Interior Minister Dr. Tamara Zieschang has invited representatives of the East German Savings Bank Association, the Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken, the Cooperative Association and representatives of the Saxony-Anhalt Public Insurance Company (ÖSA) and R+V Versicherung to a symposium on April 20, 2023. Colleagues from the state police and members of the Dutch police also took part.

Minister of the Interior Dr. Tamara Zieschang: “The meeting was characterized by a high level of information exchange. It became clear how important it is for the police and banks to work closely together. The task now is for the banks to swiftly implement the measures already adopted. The colleagues from the state police are on hand to provide them with advice and practical support. To ensure that the necessary preventive measures are applied in an even more targeted manner, the state police will expand its control concept to include risk and hazard analyses for ATM locations.”

In particular, sites that pose a particularly high potential risk to uninvolved persons in the event of an explosion must be secured as a matter of priority. For this reason, the police inspectorates will carry out risk and hazard analyses on site together with the financial institutions. These analyses will be used as the basis for more targeted preventive measures in the future. The Saxony-Anhalt State Criminal Police Office collects the analysis data collected and coordinates cooperation both in the state and beyond.

A follow-up event is already being planned. In the fall, the State Criminal Police Office will present the data and provide information on preventive control approaches.

Background:

Attacks on ATMs are a prominent crime phenomenon nationwide, with attacks by means of detonation being of particular concern. In a nationwide comparison, the number of cases involving the detonation of ATMs in Saxony-Anhalt is at a relatively low level: in 2022, there were nine cases (of which five were attempts), in 2021, there were 13 cases (of which five were attempts), and in 2020, there were a total of 16 cases (of which seven were attempts). The total amount of damage in ATM burglaries for the period 2020 to 2022 in Saxony-Anhalt is almost 4.5 million euros.

The Conference of Ministers of the Interior (IMK) has also repeatedly dealt with the issue in detail and drawn up recommendations on the measures credit institutions can take to secure their ATMs. The IMK considers it an urgent requirement that the German banking industry and ATM manufacturers exhaust the technical possibilities and, in particular, ensure that the security recommendations identified by the police as effective are implemented consistently.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, there is currently no mandatory legal basis for credit institutions to provide additional protection for ATMs. On November 8, 2022, a “Round Table on ATM Explosions” under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs issued a joint declaration agreeing to implement preventive measures to protect ATMs as quickly as possible. Since the end of June 2023, the signatories to the joint declaration have been conducting an initial evaluation and assessment of progress and successes as agreed.

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