ALBANY, GA (WALB) –It's an example that crime can happen almost anywhere. A woman was robbed Wednesday night making a deposit at a well-lit A-T-M right across the street from the Albany Police Department.
She's okay, and police are searching for the masked armed robber.
Despite surveillance cameras and security lighting, many South Georgians say they will not use bank ATM's after dark, because they are afraid of crime.
I talked with several South Georgians at bank ATM's today, and to a person they said they do not go to ATM's after dark. Bank officials understand, they make their ATM's as safe as possible, but have other ways to take care of your business
Melody Milton says she only goes to ATM's during the day, never after dark. "Because bushes and dark buildings. Anybody can hide behind that stuff. I just don't go them at night. I try to handle that kind of business in the day time, said Milton."
Just before 9 Wednesday night 28 year old Shemika Mackeroy stepped out of her car at this Bank of America ATM on West Oglethorpe to make a deposit. A masked man with a gun demanded money, took a small amount of cash, and ran toward the Hilton Garden Inn.
Chuck DeMott of Moultrie said he stays away from ATM's in sketchy parts of town. Do you go to ATM's at night? DeMott said"No sir, not usually."
Federal law sets standards for banks surveillance security and lighting at ATM's, but bank officials say being aware of your surroundings and using common sense is still best.
Heritage Bank of the South Marketing Director Mary Beth Hobby said "At night , I would totally recommend you go up to a drive up ATM at night. If you feel the need to do a walk up ATM at night, take a friend. "
Experts say anytime you use an ATM, look around to see if anyone is watching or close by. Milton says she does that everytime.
When you drive up to one of these, do you look at their bushes? Milton said "I do, I do. Even in the daytime. It still makes me nervous to come to the ATM. If I can at all, I like to go inside of the bank."
Albany Police will escort business owners to make cash deposits after bank hours, if they just call and ask, to keep them safe.
Bank officials say you can do most of your personal business by computer or phone. If you need cash, you can use bank cards to get cash back at most stores. If you don't feel safe at the ATM, they recommend you go to a crowded store, make a small purchase, and get your cash there.
Here are some tips to stay safe when you use an ATM.
Use ATM's in well lighted areas, away from shrubbery, partitions, dividers, or building corners.
Keep your engine running, doors locked, windows closed as much as possible.
Prepare all paperwork prior to arrival, and memorize your PIN.