Should Pharmacy Security Be More Like Bank Security?

By Megan Trent

February 8, 2012 Updated Feb 8, 2012 at 7:45 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Are pharmacy robberies the new bank robberies? It's possible some bank security successes could soon by on their way to the pharmacy counter.

With the high street demand for Opana and Pseudoephedrine used to make meth, pharmacists have more reason to fear a robbery than most bank tellers. In 2010, there was just one bank robbery across 13 Northeast Indiana counties. In contrast, there have been six area pharmacy robberies so far in 2012.

While almost all bank robbers are eventually apprehended, police are facing some major challenges as they search for who is responsible for the string of recent pharmacy robberies.

Where are the silent alarm buttons hidden under the counter? Just like a bank, it's feasible for employees to put fake pills or small GPS tracking systems in bottles during the robbery. While the technology does exist, it isn't standard for pharmacies.

Police say they're making periodic stops at area pharmacies and responding to calls about suspicious behavior, but some security measures are simply out of their hands.

Fort Wayne Police Officer Raquel Foster says, "Those ideas are really going to fall in the lap of those businesses - whether they're willing to invest the funds and whether they're willing to implement the technology. It's not going to be for us to regulate their security systems."

In a statement, Walgreens officials emphasized their commitment to keeping employees and customers safe. They say tens of thousands of dollars have been spent in upgrading security at Fort Wayne pharmacies.

New cameras have been added to the exterior of buildings and profile cameras are being placed near front entrances. Officials say employees have also been trained on how to spot and react to potential robberies.

However, Foster says the angle or scope of cameras at various pharmacies can sometimes limit how identifiable the suspect's image is on camera. That's why anyone with information is encouraged to call the Fort Wayne Police Department. http://www.fwpd.org/contact.html

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