Who's Watching Your Back? - WNCT

Who's Watching Your Back?

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - When you pull up to an ATM, you expect they're well lit, kept under surveillance and even designed to protect you--- the consumer. But the reality is, no one is watching. Not the feds, the state or even municipalities. In North Carolina, nothing requires banks to protect you.     

In the western part of the state, two people dodged bullets as they pulled up to an ATM. One of the bullets grazed Kyle McDaniel's friend. "There were two black men holding revolvers in front of us and I sped off and they shot into the car grazed her neck,” McDaniel said.

In Raleigh, a NC State student was shot in the jaw while using an ATM on campus. The then sophomore now lives with a bullet lodged in his neck and has a different perspective on life.

In the east, we found several instances in Kinston, Greenville and New Bern. One well known case led to the death of a robber demanding money. An off-duty Pitt County Sheriff deputy says he shot the man in self-defense. It happened at a State Employees Credit Union branch on Charles Boulevard in Greenville.

Criminals are always after ATMs and will go to extremes to get a hold of cash. But who's on your side? Is being careful enough?

"Some of it is too dark---especially at night. It's not well lit and then the bushes to me need to be cleared off all together,” Veronica Thompson said. 

In 2002 congress proposed the ATM Consumer Protection Act to help deter crime. The bill would establish minimum standards with which each ATM operator shall follow with respect to installation, maintenance and the use of security devices. The bill died in committee. 

States took it upon themselves to enact minimum requirements. North Carolina isn't one of the them. Florida requires banks with ATMs to provide adequate lighting, install a reflective mirror to allow customers a rear view and to make sure that no physical obstruction or landscaping is higher than 3 feet.

At one of the ATMs we pulled up to, the lighting was equivalent to 1-2 ft. candles. Florida requires lighting to be greater than 10 ft. candles. 

Officer Nick Simmons took us to an ideal ATM. "This ATM is well lit, it's in a well traveled pedestrian area and also the landscaping is cut low." Simmons' is part of the city's CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Designteam. They offer solutions to businesses and banks wanting to beef up their security. 

"It falls on both the business and your consumer. Your business should make the environment safe, but it falls on the consumer as well to use one with a well lit area and one that's heavily traveled."

Most of the ATMs we visited met the ideal standards, but all it takes is a few to create that crime of opportunity.
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