Police forces across Windsor-Essex team up to fight pharmacy robberies

1 / 2
Police forces across Windsor-Essex team up to fight pharmacy robberies

Police throughout Windsor-Essex will be touring every pharmacy in the area to highlight ways owners can improve store designs and security to better defend against robberies.

Windsor pharmacists have been battling a steady increase in robberies in the past five years, culminating last summer when the owners finally reached out to police for help.

Overall crime rates in the city, including crimes against people and property, have been declining in the past five years, but the rate of those same crimes at pharmacies are on the rise.

Crime rates have slowly climbed 3.76 per cent in pharmacies, according to police data gathered between 2011 and 2015. But overall crime has dropped by 1.49 per cent in that same time period.

"Absolutely, there's a reason that we should be looking specifically at these environments," said Brian Horrobin, director of planning and physical resources with Windsor police.

The Essex County Pharmacists' Association reached out to police for help back in July July 2016. So far, they have had limited success with increased video surveillance, physical storefront changes and risk assessments.

But the collaborative effort developed further Wednesday night, when representatives from police forces throughout the region met with pharmacy owners and staff to discuss strategies to prevent robberies. 

The meeting was held in private in order to ensure pharmacists agree with the ideas proposed by police.

Though the crime rates are moving in opposite directions, the statistics for pharmacies are not "drastically out of line" with crimes throughout the city, according to Horrobin. But the figures do show some cause for concern.

"They underscore the importance of why all local law enforcement agencies are partnering with the pharmacy industry," he said.