A study from the Federal Trade Commission has found insufficient evidence that installing electronic alarm systems at ATMs would do much to prevent or deter crime at the cash machines.
Congress mandated the commission produce the Report On Emergency Technology For Use With ATMs as part of the CARD Act passed last year. The study found that although several technology companies offer different approaches that would enable ATM users to immediately and secretly notify police if they were in trouble at the machine, those devices have not been widely deployed.
"Despite the unavailability of the data that would be necessary to conduct the study mandated by the act, the preponderance of the extant anecdotal evidence suggests that emergency-PIN technologies likely would not have a large impact on ATM crime," the report said.
"First, the best available evidence suggests that non-fraud ATM crimes in general occur with low incidence. Second, distressed ATM customers may not have the ability or incentive to activate an emergency-PIN or alarm button device, and in some instances doing so might elevate the risk of harm to the customer. Third, police response times may not be fast enough to create a high probability that the offender will be apprehended, thereby limiting the deterrence effect of such measures with respect to ATM crimes. And fourth, offenders may simply change their practices in order to circumvent any additional risk posed to them from the deployment of emergency-PIN technologies."