I was surprised, after reading of the recent robbery and brutal killing of a woman in South Boston, that no one brought up the subject of ATM security (“Kidnapped, robbed, and stabbed to death,” Page A1, July 25).
A quick online search yields pages and pages of bank-related security measures, most of which relate to protecting a bank’s money and equipment. There is very little on what the banks could do to physically protect the ATM users, other than obvious things such as cameras, phones, lighting, and visibility.
The easiest and most obvious solution, which early developers of ATMs discussed more than 30 years ago, is to enable the customer to enter an alternate personal identification number that would silently alert bank security, and hopefully police, that a dangerous situation was in progress.
This PIN would still allow the machine to give out cash, so as not to cause a thief to get annoyed and do something rash. The transaction could also proceed a bit slower than usual to allow law enforcement a chance to arrive at the scene, or could warn the user of low balance so that the thief would hopefully release the abductee rather than proceed to multiple locations.
This would have been easy to implement years ago, and would be even easier now.