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ATM Lighting Court Cases?

Are the gurus aware of court cases involving ATM lighting? Specifically below standard lighting.

Answer by Randy Carey:Here is one - the customers lost.


Answer by Hussam Al-Abed:Source: Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series / Guide No. 8
Robbery at Automated Teller Machines
Michael S. Scott

Ensuring adequate lighting at and around ATMs.
Adequate lighting at and around ATMs allows users to see any suspicious people near the ATM, and allows potential witnesses, including police, to see a crime in progress and get a good look at the offender. Good lighting can deter people from robbing ATM users in the first place. There should be adequate light around all building corners adjacent to the ATM, as well as for nearby parking places.

Most ATM lighting standards, including some mandated by law, call for minimum light levels at and around ATMs. According to lighting designers, however, most minimum lighting standards do not address all the factors that affect visibility. Shadows, light types, light colors, light-source direction, light uniformity, glare, and obstructions all affect visibility for the observer. A qualified lighting designer should plan ATM lighting.

Lights should turn on automatically via photo sensors rather than by manual or timer switches. Light levels, once set properly, should be monitored regularly to ensure they do not fall below acceptable levels. Long-lasting light bulbs should be used. Automated light-detection monitors can alert the ATM operator if light levels drop. Light fixtures must be adequately protected so that offenders cannot disable them.

General Considerations for an Effective Strategy

1. Imposing mandatory minimum security standards.

Banks and other institutions that operate ATMs must comply with applicable U.S. federal laws, principally the Federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act (Regulation E) and the Bank Protection Act (Regulation P) (12 CFR Section 216.1). These federal laws, however, primarily address matters related to the security of the ATMs themselves and to fraudulent transactions, rather than matters related to ATM users' safety.

No federal law prohibits minimum security standards to protect ATM users; several states and a few cities have passed their own laws mandating minimum security standards for ATMs. Most of these laws set minimum standards for lighting, landscaping, visibility, security reviews, and customer safety tips. The state of New York's law requires, in addition, surveillance cameras and locked vestibule doors that require an ATM card to access. Some laws provide for fines against ATM operators for violations of the standards. Some require annual compliance certifications for each ATM. If security standard laws are enacted, adequate resources must be dedicated to inspection and compliance enforcement. Under some state laws, ATM operators who comply with the security standards are statutorily protected from civil liability. Some laws apply retroactively to all ATMs; others, only to new ATMs.

There are both positive and negative implications for specific security standards. Highly specific standards leave little room for debate about compliance, but they also inhibit technological innovations that could provide more securitythan mandated by the minimum standards

2. Using civil liability.
Although police do not play a direct role in civil lawsuits resulting from ATM robberies, you should understand that ATM operators and premise owners carefully consider their civil liability when deciding where toplace ATMs and what security measures to adopt. Much of the published literature addresses ATM security from a legal liability perspective. Statutory and case law on liability for injuries sustained during ATM transactions varies across jurisdictions, so you should consult local legal counsel if you wish to know how the law applies in your jurisdiction. As a general proposition in the United States, courts take into account the knowledge that ATM operators had, or should have had, about the risk of robbery at particular ATMs when determining their liability for victims' injuries. Consequently, ATM operators are advised to consult frequently with local police about reports of crime around ATMs. Courts will usually hold ATM operators to the industry standards for basic crime prevention measures, although establishing liability also turns on other legal issues.

First published on 5/05/08

First published on 05/05/2008

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