The number of ATM cash machines in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has fallen from 11,000 to 9,500 in the last six months. The measure was taken to reduce the number of explosions in the region. However, 1,500 fewer ATMs is still not much for wanted targets and so it still seems like mopping up with the tap open.
The number of professional squatters in Germany is still increasing. The explosive squatters usually come from the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Utrecht region) and use increasingly heavier explosives to blow money out of ATMs. The German and Dutch police have set up a cross-border special unit to reduce the number of explosive attacks.
The Dutch police have been working intensively with the German police for some time now to track down people who blow up ATMs in Germany on a daily basis. Special surveillance teams search highways for suspicious cars, which are forced to a halt and checked with sniffer dogs for explosives or other prohibited substances.
Much more cash
Explosive squatters have shifted their field of activity abroad because Dutch banks have taken preventive measures that make blowing up Dutch ATMs pointless. In Germany, the population uses much more cash than in the Netherlands.
In Germany, Dutch explosive squatters struck almost 450 times last year. By way of comparison: in the Netherlands, criminals blew up an ATM 15 times.
The police say they suspect that about 500 men, mainly from Amsterdam and Utrecht, are responsible for the lion’s share of the explosive raids in the Netherlands and abroad. It is nothing new that many suspects of German explosive attacks come from the Netherlands. Also in 2021, half of all explosive attacks in Germany committed by Dutch people of mainly Moroccan descent.
German banks do not use ‘adhesive techniques’, with which banknotes are quickly glued together and rendered unusable. That sometimes happens in the Netherlands. Ink is also often sprayed over banknotes here, making the money unusable.
The German government and the chairman of the detective association are calling on banks to better protect their ATMs. The Minister of the Interior would even consider a legal obligation to do so.
The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle made a short report about the fight against explosive squatters.
Series of arrests in German-Dutch explosive raid investigation