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Contributing Editor Christine Blank is a freelance writer based in Florida.
Experts gave tips on helping prevent crimes focused on retail pharmacy during Protect Your Pharmacy Week in late April
Security experts offered new tips on preventive and preemptive measures to take against the increase in crimes focused on retail pharmacies, at Protect Your Pharmacy Week sponsored by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) in late April.
From 2006 through 2011, robberies in community pharmacies jumped 82% to 3,535, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. In addition, RxPATROL has tracked more than 3,700 pharmacy robberies and burglaries, along with 1,853 cases of fraud and 119 cargo thefts and other crimes, since its inception in 2005.
In the past, many retail prescription drug thefts were perpetrated by drug users needing a quick fix and were not well planned. However, today's criminal is knowledgeable about Rx drugs, pharmacy operations, and police response times, according to Bill Bell, COO of PharmaSafe, a provider of narcotics cabinets and other security products. The new, savvier criminal often has inside knowledge of the retail pharmacy being targeted. In fact, some drug dealers have taught diversion tactics to accomplices whom they have then sent to pharmacy tech school. "The new tech goes to work for the pharmacy. By knowing the ins and outs of the pharmacy, their diversion activities can be difficult to spot," Bell wrote on the NCPA blog "The Dose."
Alfredo Arias, executive vice president of FlashFog Security, also advised retail pharmacies to invest in "unorthodox" security technologies to deter thefts. "Security fog, criminal-tagging DNA sprays, face recognition, video analytics, and other cutting-edge technologies further reinforce the better-go-somewhere-else theme. The less they [criminals] have heard of it, the more they will be afraid of it," Arias wrote on NCPA's blog.