YELLOW privacy zones are to be painted at selected cash point machines in Harrow in a new move to deter opportunistic thieves.
It is hoped that the yellow grids will help prevent "shoulder surfing" - where the thief attempts to read a card PIN number then steals the card - as well as more direct threats from groups who gather behind the cash point customer.
A total of 12 Harrow cash point machines have been chosen for the no-go boxes, with locations around South Harrow, High Street Harrow, Stanmore, Pinner and Edgware.
There have been more than 80 distraction thefts or robberies from Harrow cash points in the six months to the end of October with South Harrow worst affected. Police research suggests Saturday daytime - between 6am and 6pm - is the time offenders are most likely to strike.
Teodor Ficuta, 22, was jailed for ten months last year for robbing a 73-year-old man at a cashpoint in Pinner. Ficuta - currently wanted by police for breaching the terms of his release - distracted the man by placing a five pound note under his foot, asking the pensioner if it was his and then swiping his cashpoint card after pressing cancel.
Use of the boxes has become more popular in the UK after trials carried out by Manchester Police which revealed that offences around cash point machines marked with a yellow grid fell by two thirds.
Harrow Council contractors will now paint the yellow privacy zone grids outside the target cash points in an operation backed by police.
Cllr Susan Hall, Harrow Council's portfolio holder for the environment, said: "Harrow is a low crime borough but there is an issue with opportunist cash point crime, and the Council is absolutely committed to delivering cleaner and safer streets.
"While police will continue to target problem areas with patrols, the research suggests these privacy boxes to have a marked influence on making bank customers more psychologically aware of who is around them - and hopefully making them a less tempting target as a result."
Dal Babu, Harrow police borough commander, said: " We welcome this initiative by Harrow Council, which is yet another example of the police and the local authority working together to reduce crime and keep Harrow safe."