The Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK) wants to oblige the operators of ATMs to secure cash holdings against explosions in the future. According to Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, in view of the sharp rise in the number of cases, this is also intended to increase the pressure on internationally active groups of perpetrators. The CSU politician is currently chairman of the Conference of Interior Ministers.
"The number of ATM blasts has skyrocketed this year," Herrmann stressed, referring to the IMK autumn conference due to take place in Munich next week. Across Germany, some 800 ATMs were blown up in 2020 and 2021, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. (2020: 414; 2021: 392). These were the highest numbers of cases recorded since the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) began recording statistics in 2005, it said. The preliminary case figures available for the first half of 2022 suggested a new annual high.
"We have to take this development very seriously. The highly professional gangs of perpetrators not only cause high economic damage," Herrmann emphasized. He added that it is also particularly problematic that the blasts are accompanied by reckless endangerment of uninvolved third parties, residents and emergency services. "We must therefore consistently put these unscrupulous criminal gangs and their backers behind bars."
According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the current development in Germany is being forced by a displacement effect from the Netherlands. There, extensive preventive measures against such blasts have already been implemented. Nearly two-thirds of the suspects registered by the BKA in 2020 and 2021 come from the Netherlands. At the beginning of November, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Fraser (SPD) had already invited to a nationwide "round table ATM explosions". The state interior ministers now want to follow up on the declaration adopted there in Munich.
For a reversal of the trend in this country as well, it is important that investigators cooperate as closely as possible, nationwide and also with our European neighbors, Herrmann said. "In addition, the main focus will also be on increased prevention. For example, the installation sites and also the vending machines themselves must be better secured. Here, the banks and vending machine manufacturers have a responsibility to make it as difficult as possible for criminals, among other things with technical devices that render the banknotes unusable." Then an explosion is no longer worthwhile for the perpetrators.
In Bavaria, the development is also dramatic, Herrmann said. With 32 detonations (as of Nov. 23, 2022), a record level had already been reached in the Free State (2020: 24, 2021: 17 detonations). Therefore, at the invitation of the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office, there had already been an initial round of talks with bank representatives in July.
Image by Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke