Thieves Get Surprise at South African ATMs

By Matthew Harwood

A commercial banking company in South Africa is investing in an arms race with bank robbers to deter them from breaking into ATM machines to swipe cash, reports the Guardian.

The solution: ATM machines that squirt pepper spray at anyone tampering with the machine.

The extreme measure is the latest in South Africa's escalating war against armed robbers who target banks and cash delivery vans. The number of cash machines blown up with explosives has risen from 54 in 2006 to 387 in 2007 and nearly 500 last year.

The technology uses cameras to detect people tampering with the card slots. Another machine then ejects pepper spray to stun the culprit while police response teams race to the scene.

Pioneered by Absa in cooperation with police, 11 ATM machines in high-risk areas will be armed with the pepper spray technology. If successful, the pepper-spraying ATMs will be expanded to other sites across the country.

♦ Photo by colin_n/Flickr



No way....

I wouldn't support this techology. Its the basic dillemna associated with Artificial intelligence. Yeah, its just a pepper stray and not a gun. But it the same principle. Are we comfortable with letting a machine decide who is tampering with the machine and who is not. What if the guy is just going out on a date with his girlfriend and the machine acts up, sprays his eyes and ruins his evening. Well, atleast we are a sue friendly country. I hope the ATM company has set aside a budget for possible lawsuits too.

This is a good way to

This is a good way to eliminate ATM robberies. I hope all private/commercial banks adopt this technique in order to protect our money. In times of recession, we really need to make sure that all our savings are in good hands. So that we can avoid getting too many emergency loan that might result in having big debt and bad credit. If these machines in high-risk areas will be armed with the pepper spray technology, then it will be a relief to all our customers.

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