Baltimore has seen a large increase in ATM thefts over the past year and the Baltimore Police Department has now started to better track them. Before 2020, the department said ATM thefts were just lumped under other property crimes and larcenies, according to a reportfrom Fox Baltimore.
According to statistics provided by the Baltimore Police, there were 130 reported ATM thefts in 2020 and in 2021, there have already been six. The thefts have occurred in almost every section of the city and generally happen during the early-morning hours. In most cases, the ATM machine is taken and the theft goes unsolved.
Many times when the ATM is stolen, thieves leave major holes, debris and damage in their wake, creating a major mess and major repair jobs for the building owners.
Even though most of the crimes have been caught on camera, experts say they’re not surprised most of the thieves have gotten away with it so far. Most business owners who’ve had their ATMs stolen over the past year were also reluctant to report what happened, fearing they would be targeted again.
According to the department, recent arrests stem from a new initiative that was launched at the end of 2020 where the BPD partnered with surrounding agencies to share information about certain trends and suspect information.
Officers also have been traveling to vulnerable businesses to speak with owners and hand out flyers, encouraging them to invest in technology like alarm systems and GPS trackers to better secure the machines.
The rise in thefts also comes amid a nearly 80% decrease in bank robberies in Baltimore City, according to the report. That trend could be contributed to the fact that bank robberies remain a federal crime with stiff penalties, while stealing an ATM from a closed business is only considered a property crime and comes with more lenient punishments.