BREWER POLICE DEPARTMENT’S PHARMACY ROBBERY PREVENTION AND RESPONSE BREWER POLICE DEPARTMENT Captain Christopher M. Martin [email protected] 207-989-7003 Motive for crime Pharmacy robberies are typically committed by young men seeking opioid painkillers and other drugs to sell or to feed their own addictions. Opportunities - Increased number of pharmacies and hours of operation. - Relatively quick to plan and can be rapidly executed (standard designs /methods of operation). In Maine armed pharmacy robberies increased 1200% between 2008 and 2011 According to BDN as of October 2012 half of Maine Pharmacy Robberies were at Rite Aids 2008 Maine had 2 Pharmacy Robberies 2011 Maine had 24 pharmacy robberies *As of 10/23 Maine has had 46 pharmacy robberies * (38 solved – 82.6% cleared rate) In 2011 633 armed pharmacy robberies were reported to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in which Schedule II drugs were taken. Robbery prevention and awareness training This program is a detailed look at the Crime of Robbery and how it effects pharmacy business. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. What is a Robbery? Characteristics of Robbery What should I do during a Robbery? What to do after a Robbery? Robbery Prevention Techniques and objectives What is a ROBBERY? “ROBBERY” means the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear. Two Critical Things Robbers want one thing – your property, in the case of pharmacy robberies they want drugs – and they want them quickly Robbery is a risky business and robbers are usually nervous. Delay increases the potential for violence. Give the robber what he/she wants quickly. DO NOT risk your life or another person’s life for property. Characteristics of Robbery Socio-economics status of Business Neighborhood is not a factor! More attractive the business = more frequently Robbed The DOLLARS lost from Robbery do not hurt the business…Employees, customers and business status are hurt Characteristics of a ROBBER Robbers are usually Male (majority are under 25 years of age) Repeat offenders/record of violence Will ROB for small amount and repeat offense to accumulate a larger amount Most business ROBBERS are strangers to their victim Use threat of force and violence to neutralize resistance of victim R.E.A.C.T. R emain calm E ye witness, pay attention to descriptors of suspect A ctivate Robbery Alarm C all police and provide a good description T ake charge and protect the crime scene PRACTICE this REACT response with employees What should I do during a Robbery? Cooperate with the Robber, give them exactly what they want WEAPONS or implied weapons should be treated as REAL and LOADED Do not make loud noises or sudden moves Give bait/decoy, even if told not to! Try to alert other employees, use “Code Words” ACTIVATE ALARM A.S.A.P., but safely! What should I do during a Robbery? Observe and Identify Weapon (type, size and color) Remember – consider all weapons real and loaded! Be a Good Witness Suspect: height, weight, gender, race, clothing, scars, tattoos, shoes Focus on what is taken, where it is put, how it is carried Keep demand note, if applicable Prepare a brief synopsis of the event for when the police arrive Inventory of drugs to document what was taken (bottles of commonly abused drugs like Schedule II should be marked and lot #’s recorded) Police will need immediate access to camera system A witness account (video) What should I do during a Robbery? *** Observe and Identify Vehicle *** Color/Make/Model/Old or New License Plate (State, Color, Number) Unusual Characteristics or Body Damage Direction of Travel What to do After the Robbery IMMEDIATELY CALL THE POLICE 911 What to do After a Robbery *** DO NOT CALL*** YOUR MANAGER / STORE OWNER / STORE SECURITY YOUR FAMILY NON-EMERGENCY OR ADMINISTRATION LINE YOUR ALARM COMPANY UNTIL YOU NOTIFY LAW ENFORCEMENT VIA 9-1-1, AND THE OPERATOR HAS GIVEN YOU PERMISSION TO HANG UP THE PHONE What to tell the 9-1-1 operator “We have just been Robbed” “A Robbery has just occurred at our business” Identify Yourself Stay on the Phone Answer Questions about the Robbery Descriptions of Robbers Weapons Injuries How long ago Vehicles and direction of travel What to do After a Robbery: Protect the Crime Scene Lock all the doors Calmly tell customers that a Robbery has just occurred Stop all business transactions Ask all witnesses to stay until Police arrives DO NOT touch anything in the Robbery area Do not allow customers, friends, or media into business until Law Enforcement arrives What to do After the Robbery: Record Observations Use SUSPECT ID CHART Do not compare observations with other witnesses Write down exactly what you remember Forensic Evidence Make note of everything the suspect touches, especially if not wearing gloves. This may leave fingerprint and/or DNA evidence. Point out these areas to police. Incorporate procedures where commonly touched areas like countertops and doors are cleaned frequently. Robbery Prevention Techniques Be Alert to Suspicious Customers Robbers usually “case” their target Loitering in store or parking lot, same car keeps driving by Early shoppers? Tries to keep you later? Acts nervous or “just not right” Make sure camera system is working Call Law Enforcement Identification Greet each customer. Good customer service discourages hesitant robbers and thieves. Place height markings along the vertical frame at the entrance and near service areas. Use a quality camera/recording system. Positioned at front door, pharmacy counter. Clear frontal view of suspect’s face (eye level). Cameras in parking lot. “Challenging Strangers” Rule: Everyone who enters store should know that all employees are watching. When you “challenge” a stranger, you do not have to be rude or threatening. Be polite and assertive. The best thing to do is to ask the person, “Can I help you find something?” Robbery Prevention Techniques: NEVER block the view into your business Cashier area should be easily seen from outside Allow employees to see entire store, low displays, clear partitions, convex mirrors Keep all entrances, exits and parking areas well lit NEVER open or close in the DARK alone! Leave lights on inside and outside after closing Robbery Prevention techniques: Good Employee Hiring Techniques Robbers can be past employees Complete application process Photo-copy of Driver’s License- Photo ID Photo-copy of Social Security Card Photo all employees Discourages dishonest employees Assist law Enforcement with ID Employees Check references of prospective employees. Do a thorough background check of previous employers. Check criminal history. Keep a file on all employees, including their pictures. (Past employees know store procedure and sometimes share this information with others to aid in criminal activity) Re-key locks and alter safe combinations when employees are dismissed for cause. Robbery Prevention Techniques: Opening and Closing Opening: Use two people and check surroundings for suspicious people/vehicles Check business for signs of break in, never enter, always call police Use visible door, not hidden entrance All employees lock themselves in until the store opens NEVER OPEN EARLY FOR ANYONE! Robbery Prevention Techniques: Opening and Closing Closing: Lock all doors at closing hour Never open doors after hours to strangers Check entire building for suspicious/hiding people Pleasantly escort last customers to the door and lock it behind them Use two people Follow opening safety rules in reverse If called back after closing, let someone know you are going and verify all Police initiated calls Robbery Prevention Techniques: If it is possible place a greeter by the front door Enforce a policy of no hats/no sunglasses Install security cameras outside of store to cover parking lot area and back/sides Install a security camera at the front door about 5 1/2 to 6 feet high to catch facial shot of suspect leaving Switch up procedures for bait pharmaceuticals Look at possibility of installing double security doors at entrance Robbery Prevention Techniques: Alarms Different from Burglar alarms EMPLOYEE activated Multiple points of access to “panic” buttons Alerts Police Deterrent to Robbery when existence is advertised Easy access to activate All employees should be trained to use all security systems Management should be responsible for maintenance of security system Signage “Controlled Substances in Time Release Safe” No hats, no facial covering No backpacks Warm up exercise for practical: Robbery Prevention Benefits Reduce incidents of Robbery Makes a safer place to work and shop Enhance Public and Internal Image Reduce Employee Turnover Enhance Sales and Profits Leadership Role in Crime Prevention “Pitfalls” Not keeping the demand note (we are losing valuable evidence, and often times the witness/victim cannot remember specifically what was communicated. ) Review strategies for how to keep note without being obvious, confirm the robbery with a statement to the effect of “Are you robbing me?” A response to this will provide good evidence meeting the elements of a robbery as opposed to a theft, especially if we don’t have the note or one wasn’t presented. “Pitfalls” Not challenging strangers/suspicious customers. In several of these recent cases, the suspect was in the store prior to the actual event, not really shopping, and displaying behaviors what could/should have been challenged by employees “Can I help you find something”. Countertops were not routinely wiped down. Recommendation was every 15 minutes to clean and wipe down countertop area with alcohol based cleaner to allow for greater likelihood of collection of latent print and/or DNA in event of robbery. “Pitfalls” Security cameras not working or in not place. In one case, the exterior cameras on one side of building were not working, which was the side that the suspect fled from. Makes it difficult to see any vehicles and/or direction of travel. Recommendation for placement of covert security camera at face level, pointing at nose area. Rather than waiting for the media to report that another robbery has occurred, go on the record and promote the fact that the crimes being committed are being solved, to get the word out there that pharmacies are hard targets and the likelihood of success for a crime committed is not very good. Closing Thoughts… Solving crimes prevents future ones from occurring. Thank you.