June 24, 2024

German ATMs Keep Being Bombed As Criminals Take Advantage of Cash Option

  • In recent years, Germany has been a hotbed for ATM bombings, writes the Financial Times.
  • That’s because Germans still favor cash over electronic payments, making ATMs more ripe targets.
  • Last year, around 30 million euros were stolen through ATM bombings, a 53% increase from the previous year.

Germany’s choice of physical currency could prove costly for the country, as Europe’s largest economy has exploded in crime involving ATM bombings. the Financial Times reported.

Although Germans have long preferred to buy things with cash instead of cards or other forms of electronic payments, organized criminals have taken advantage of this habit in recent years.

Last year, 496 ATMs were blown up as part of cash grab heists, a 27% increase from 2021, said the Federal Criminal Police Office of the FT. On average, such raids could yield 100,000 euros, equal to $110,686.5.

That was 30 million euros stolen through ATM bombings last year, a 53% increase on the previous year.

More than half of Germans prefer physical banknotes to cards or a digital offering, meaning the country has over 55,000 ATMs filled with high-denomination euros. For the culprits, it is a unique target, as cash machines are in decline in other European states.

Although no one was seriously injured or killed during these bombings, they were not risk-free ventures, FT wrote.

Often, the culprits are injured in the explosion, and the car ride is characterized by high speeds and the risk of fiery collisions. The danger is made worse by the fuel boxes that the robbers carry for refueling, which discourages officers from shooting the vehicle.

Germany’s response has been largely fragmented. Efforts to enforce effective ATM standards and law enforcement are diluted by the fact that Germany has over 1,500 lenders, and each province commands its own police task force.

And although countries such as the Netherlands have implemented protection systems that pool money in the event of a raid, this has not been done in Germany due to health and safety concerns.

Meanwhile, efforts to strengthen ATMs against earlier types of detonation were thwarted as criminals switched to different explosives, according to the FT.

Still, there has been some success, with police groups in one province learning how to analyze potential loopholes as a way to prepare. And prosecutors for those arrested are also starting to press charges of attempted murder as the explosions put nearby residents at risk.

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