A frightening video was released by the Arlington, TX Police department yesterday showing a woman being pulled from her car at an ATM by a subject with a gun, and being forced into the trunk.
I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of the situation by Monday morning quarterbacking it too much, but there are a few lessons from the video that we can all benefit from:
- Your car is a great weapon. It’s big and heavy, made of steel, and can move quicker than a person. If your approached at an ATM for any reason, it’s time to leave. Punch the skinny pedal and get out of there, deal with your stolen card and money later. My wife and I are on a cash budget while we are working toward getting debt free, so I find myself at an ATM once a week pulling out cash for us. One thing I’ve gotten into the habit of is always leaving the car in gear while I’m at the ATM. If it’s time to leave, all I have to do is lay on the gas pedal, and I’m out of there.
Don’t go alone. I like to bring my wife with me so she can keep her head on a swivel while I’m fiddling with the ATM. She knows to alert me if there’s anybody on foot in the area approaching the car.
Pull up tight to the ATM. I get close enough that my side mirror just barely misses hitting the ATM when I pull up. An adult would have to squeeze to get between my car and the ATM, and there isn’t enough room to pull my car door open and get me out. If someone were to try and squeeze between my car and the ATM/brick wall of the bank, they’re gonna have a bad time.
Avoid the ATM all together. Seriously, if you don’t have to use an ATM, don’t. Criminals know to target these places and love to rob people when they are using the ATM. If your job requires you to make large deposits, work with your employer to come up with a solution that is safer (guard service pickup, day time deposits instead of night, etc). Making night drops isn’t worth it.
It should go without saying, but be armed! You couldn’t pay me to roll up to an ATM at night without a gun. No way, no how.