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S. African bank to clamp down on ATM crimes
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08:09, July 11, 2007

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South Africa's First National Bank (FNB) will spend 100 million rand (about 14.3 million U.S. dollars) to beef up security around its ATMs over the next three years in a drive to clamp down on rampant ATM crimes.

Unveiling the anti-ATM crime plan on Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer of FNB ATM Mike Arnold vowed that the bank had adopted a " tough stance" against this kind of crime.

The bank's message comes at a time when ATM security in South Africa is seen as vulnerable, with a number of financial institutions facing financial losses due to the recent spate of explosive attacks on ATMs.

With incidents of ATM crime occurring in different parts of the country, Arnold said FNB wanted to alert the perpetrators to the fact that such acts would lead to their imprisonment.

"The message is clear that there are real consequences following these actions. We will go after you and ensure that you go to jail," he said.

The bank has about 3,000 ATMs across the country, and as part of this project FNB is to install surveillance cameras valued at 66 million rand at these facilities in the next three years.

This means FNB will spend about 22 million rand per annum over this period for installation, monthly rental and monitoring of ATM sites with surveillance cameras.

The initial installation at 500 ATM sites has already started with successful pilots in Port Elizabeth, East London, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria, having led to 17 convictions and 148 cases which are still under police investigations.

Arnold hailed this plan as a "tried and tested" method of ATM surveillance which would help increase the possibilities of successful convictions in the criminal justice system.

He highlighted that they had a successful relationship with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the entire criminal justice system which they hoped would be consolidated through this anti-crime initiative.

"We have tested the route of surveillance and we assure perpetrators that we do have the technology, backing and skills to not only identify them, but prosecute them successfully as well," said Mr Arnold.

He said they also installed surveillance cameras in 138 ATM sites last year in collaboration with a private service provider and the police which helped the bank reduce ATM crime.

As a result, video footage was monitored in incidents of crime by a team of security experts to retrieve evidence in crimes such as credit card skimming, armed robbery, card swapping and the use of explosives on ATMs.

According to the bank's criminal incident record, at least 624 cases have been reported to the police by the bank. "Of these, 148 cases have been successfully completed with 17 suspects convicted and another 19 awaiting trial."

Source: Xinhua

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