CHICAGO (CBS) – Potential thieves will now have a much harder time escaping quickly in Illinois pharmacies.
CVS Pharmacies have announced the installation of timed safes in all locations across the state. On Tuesday, CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey debated whether or not they actually worked.
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CVS began rolling out safes six years ago in Indianapolis and has seen a drop in drugstore thefts since then. So why did it take so long to get them to Illinois, and how could they impact the bigger problem of retail theft?
Scenes of gunmen taking over pharmacies and ordering staff to hand over prescription drugs are a chilling side effect of our country’s addiction to opioids. But CVS policy maker Thomas M. Moriarty said offenders generally have one thing in common.
“Normally they want to get in and out very, very quickly,” Moriarty said.
This is where delayed safes come in. We can’t show you one because CVS and law enforcement tell us it would compromise security.
Safes electronically delay the time it takes for pharmacy workers to open them. Indianapolis got the safes in 2015, and drugstore thefts fell 70%.
CVS said Indy was part of the trial.
Lollipop: “Why did it take so long to get to Illinois? “
Moriarty: “Well it didn’t take that long, so today we announced the 392 today. We started some time ago.
While pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are often targeted for prescriptions, general retail theft is also a huge – and costly – problem. CVS has estimated a 30% increase in thefts during the pandemic.
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And the shoplifting policy is not to confront suspects.
“The balance is when are they prosecuted, when are they not prosecuted? Said Moriarty.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said he is well aware of criticism that not enough is not being done to stop retail theft which can result in violence in our communities .
“With existing laws, they can properly charge and detain these people,” Raoul said.
But he said authorities also need retailers to report the crime and sign complaints.
Lollipop: “What can your office do to stop what your office can do to hold CVS, Walgreens, any retailer accountable? “
Raoul: “I don’t see it as holding them to account – because they are also victims – but working with them to help prevent this from happening. We therefore consider them as partners.
CVS funds the money-free state safes.
The effort is part of the Attorney General’s “Retail Organized Crime Task Force”, which also focuses on tracing some of these isolated incidents down to a larger criminal enterprise.
We also addressed concerns that a potential thief would resort to violence instead of waiting for the delay on the safe. A CVS spokesperson did not directly respond to this question on Tuesday, but said the following:
“The safety of our employees is our top priority and that is why we put in place timed safes in the first place.
“We thoroughly studied the use of timed safes before implementing them in the state. In 2015, we installed safes in 158 stores in the Indianapolis area. In the space of a year, we have seen a 70% decrease in drugstore thefts in this market. Since the time-delayed safes were installed, we have seen a 50% decrease in thefts from CVS Pharmacy stores in these communities. “
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CVS also reported that it had signage warning that there were timed safes:
“Stores with timed safes have signage on the entrance doors, in the pharmacy area, on all safes, and on counters along the pharmacy counters. If there is drive-thru, there is a sticker on the window.