Americans use automatic teller machines 12 billion times each year, and banks say your odds of getting robbed at an ATM are just one in 3.5 million.
Despite the odds, two ATM robberies happened took place in the past 24 hours in Cincinnati when two men abducted Cincinnati City Councilmember David Pepper Thursday night and accompanied him to several ATM machines, forcing him to withdraw cash.
One of the ATM machines abductors forced Pepper to drive to was at the corner of Court and Main streets. Fortunately for Pepper, the ATM's security camera was rolling and police were able to view one of the suspected thieves on tape.
But that's not always the case. Just because you see a camera at the ATM machine doesn't mean your bank is rolling tape or even has the camera turned on.
Just recently, sheriff's investigators were searching for clues in a September 30 abduction at Beechmont Mall. Police claim suspect Randy Slider took a woman to several ATM machines to withdraw cash before letting her go.
It turns out all of the ATMs that were used during the abduction had cameras that did not record. Was the record function on those ATM cameras broken? Probably not, said a security consultant.
"One of the first places they cut back is security, because security is a cost center and not a profit center," said an unidentified bank security consultant.
Cincinnati Police Lt. Steve Kramer, who investigates ATM robberies, said he's aware of the lack of surveillance at local ATM machines. Kramer said the Cincinnati Police went to local banks, insisting they turn the cameras on and put fresh tape in the ATM cameras.
"The city of Cincinnati police department made a very aggressive effort to literally go to every single bank in the city with their neighborhood officers and they talked to managers at every bank and told them a lot about video machines they didn't know," said Lt. Steve Kramer of the Cincinnati Police.
New York law requires that ATM video cameras be used and fresh tape be put in them on a regular basis. Ohio's law is not that strict.
Kramer said officers will once again go into the community to review procedures with area banks so that they are assured that the banks know how to use ATM security cameras correctly.