Are violent crimes against pharmacies increasing?

Crime is a problem for all sectors of retailing—whether that’s the everyday issue of “shrinkage” due to shoplifting, or the threat inherent in customer-facing roles of being attacked or robbed.

And pharmacies, of course, have an additional attraction for criminals in their stock of drugs.

This week we saw a western Sydney pharmacist threatened with what she described as a “Samurai sword”. Earlier this month a Melbourne pharmacist was threatened by a man who said he wanted to burn down the pharmacy.

Earlier this year a Townsville pharmacist said she felt like pharmacies were “sitting ducks” for robberies.

And last year Georgia Twomey, a Cairns pharmacist who was assaulted by alleged shoplifters, called for better protection for pharmacy staff, similar to that being introduced to protect other frontline health workers.

“People in community pharmacy don’t have any of these laws to protect them,” she told the AJP at the time. “We’re part of the professional health care sector, and we commonly face this type of situation.

“It’s not fair on us, and it’s not fair on our staff.”

AJP would like to know if you or staff members at your pharmacy have been the victim of a violent crime in the past 12 months: if there has been an assault or threatened assault at your pharmacy, or a robbery with violence.

We’d also like to know how you perceive these crimes against pharmacy—are they really increasing?

In the meantime, the Pharmacists’ Support Service and Queensland Police Service offered us some safety tips for pharmacy workers last year… read them again here.

Pharmacists can contact the Pharmacists’ Support Service on 1300 244 910 if you are feeling distressed.