Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bank Teller Machines and 911

I just had a crazy idea and had to write it down somewhere. Why don't bank teller machines respond to 911? They have a numeric keypad, and their users are also a target for potential victimization. And they are everywhere. They also include video cameras. Knowing that a teller machine was also directly wired to the police might make criminals reconsider violent attacks near them. Of course if your pin number is 911x, there might be some problems, but I suspect these are easily changed. Nothing to do with Qwaq, Inc or Croquet... but so what?

4 comments:

Brian said...

Hi David,

This idea has been discussed often, and the achilles heel is that the mugger will watch the victim enter their PIN, and know that they've triggered the 911.

It's been proposed that instead the user should enter their PIN backwards, and the machine would then silently call 911 but still dispense cash. Unfortunately it looks like this system has never been implemented.

Timothy said...

David, a really interesting idea! Funny I have never thought about it... It's like those blue HELP poles up on every campus now. Spamming is only issue I can think of...

Nikto said...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4086277/

David A. Smith said...

I would think that criminals would shy away from a machine that could be used to alert the police, rather than being even more careful. Anyway, I am thinking of it in a general sense. When I attended University of Chicago, they had white phones at every corner. Simply picking them up alerted the campus police. I think this did a lot to contribute to the safety of the students. Banks are usually like to be near street corners, and are often clustered.

On the other hand, everyone has cell phones today, so maybe it is simply an obsolete idea.