If a bank does not provide reasonable security measures for their ATM they can be held liable for a criminal attack.
Most people today either bank online or at an ATM. They do not go into a bank and deal with a teller.
Most banks provide ATMs which are available in a lighted area in front of the bank and which are accessible twenty-four hours a day seven days per week to persons with a bank card and code.
Criminals have figured out that most people who use an ATM have an ATM card and money in the bank. It has therefore become a frequent occurrence that the criminal element targets ATM users in bank vestibules.
When a bank provides an ATM, it must also provide a working locking mechanism in the vestibule door which can only be accessed by persons with valid ATM cards. When the vestibule lock is broken it creates a potential for a crime. When the bank has notice of it either because it knows of the condition or because the lock has been broken for a long enough time that the bank knew or should have known about it the bank may be held responsible.
It is obviously foreseeable that in a situation where a vestibule door lock to an ATM area is broken a criminal attack upon a user of the bank’s ATM on the bank’s premises may occur.
Where a criminal act is foreseeable, the bank cannot use the excuse that there was a criminal attack in an attempt to avoid its responsibility. Obviously banks must take reasonable precautions to secure the premises. For a case in point see, Lechmanski v. Marine Midland Bank, 703 N.Y.S.2d 612 (4thDept. 1999).
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