The Educational Employees Credit Union, based in Fresno, Calif., has installed at each of its 10 automated teller machines an emergency button that links the ATM site directly with police dispatchers.
When the button is pushed, the customer is immediately connected to an emergency operator. The customer can communicate with the operator via two-way microphones that are hidden in the ATM site.
The buttons, along with traditional phone handsets, are becoming increasingly common at ATM sites around the country. Bankers clearly hope that the ability of a customer to contact the police will discourage criminals.
While a number of cities have passed ATM security legislation that requires banks to improve their ATM security by installing surveillance cameras and improved lighting, none of the largest cities requires its ATMs to be outfitted with an emergency button.