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Industry Letters

Letter on Best Practices for ATM Video Tape Usage


REVISED

February 23, 1999

TO: SECURITY OFFICER OF THE BANK, TRUST COMPANY, SAVINGS BANK, SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, CREDIT UNION, OR INSURED FOREIGN BRANCH ADDRESSED

SUBJECT : BEST PRACTICES ON ATM VIDEO TAPE USAGE

This letter is an effort to provide guidance to our regulated institutions on best practices standards for ATM video surveillance tapes.

In order to provide guidance, the New York State Banking Department ("Department") consulted with law enforcement officials, security professionals, and manufacturers of video recorders. Our objectives were twofold: first to identify the type of video tape that would most suitably hold up to repeated uses in a time-lapse recording mode; and second to ascertain how many times a video tape can be passed through a VCR without distorting the image. The surveillance camera and 30-day tape library requirements contained in the ATM Safety Act of 1996 ("Act") are intended to assist law enforcement officials after a crime has been committed at an ATM location. Discussions with law enforcement officials have clearly demonstrated a need to have cameras properly positioned and focused, and to ensure that video tapes will produce clear undistorted images. This guidance notice is intended to assist our institutions in developing policies and procedures that will satisfy these law enforcement objectives.

Recommended Type/Frequency of Video Tapes for ATM Surveillance Systems

The Department recommends for best results a T-120 industrial grade video tape when recording in a time-lapsed mode. The Department further recommends that the video tape should be used for a single 24-hour period, once a month. Furthermore, it is recommended that your institution establish a 30-day tape library that should have each tape passed through a VCR no less than 12 and no more than 15 times a year.* An industrial T-120 video tape, used only on a 24-hour cycle, will hold up better under time-lapsed recording and in turn produce a clear picture image. 

* This ATM Library should be replaced with a new supply of video tapes each year.

Preventative Maintenance Program

Adopting the aforementioned recommendations will not in itself guarantee a clear undistorted picture. In addition, a preventative maintenance program should be used which incorporates the manufacturer’s recommendations and the recommendations cited herein. The preventive maintenance program should be instituted on a regular basis to insure that all components in an ATM video surveillance system are clean and functioning properly. The Department recommends the adoption of a preventative maintenance program designed to ensure that the following minimum standards are maintained at all ATM facilities:

  • In order to be in compliance with New York City/New York State ATM security requirements, surveillance cameras should be properly positioned at a height that will obtain a clear image of individuals entering an ATM facility or at a walkup or drive-up ATM. (Note: ATM facilities located in NYC must record all activity within the facility.)
  • Camera lens must be free from dust, cleaned regularly, and properly focused.
  • VCRs should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendation for servicing of the heads and other internal parts.

In summary, the implementation of the aforementioned recommendations should produce clearer undistorted images that will greatly assist in the investigation of crimes at ATM locations. The Department recognizes that institutions may design programs that differ from the recommendations contained in this notice and compliance with the recommendations set forth in this letter is optional. Ultimately it is management’s responsibility to implement systems that will meet the objectives of the "Act". Should you require further information concerning this topic, please do not hesitate to contact me at 212-618-6490, fax 212-618-6588, e-mail Joseph.caiola@banking.state.ny.us.

Sincerely yours, 

Joseph Caiola
Director

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