MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Walgreens is bringing high-security time delay safes to stores throughout Tennessee.
The retailer currently uses the safes in more than a dozen other states. The push for higher security comes after a rise in burglaries and robberies across the pharmaceutical industry.
The new security system is designed to prevent robberies and burglaries and keep dangerous drugs off the streets. It's another step in the ongoing fight against the opioid epidemic.
"By better protecting the medications, we're preventing them from being illegally obtaining and intentionally misused," Walgreens Asset Protection Manager Jenni Smith said.
The new system is a high-security steel safe with a time delay functionality. In other words, when a pharmacist punches in the proper code, the doors are not actually opened for a set amount of time (of at least several minutes), making robberies much more difficult.
"The longer that someone is in a store, the more likely they're going to be apprehended," Smith said.
Signs posted all over Walgreens stores let criminals know from the moment they walk in, that this pharmacy is not an easy target.
"We have it in as many places as we could, just to let would-be criminals know that these high-security safes are in place," Smith said. "You have to balance risk versus reward. When you come to Walgreens, it's not going to work well for you."
Our records show several Walgreens having their pharmacies broken into just within the past year, costing tens of thousands of dollars each time.
The East Shelby Drive store is the first in our area to have the new safe. Soon enough, every Walgreens in Memphis will have these time-delayed safes.
And it won't just be Walgreens with the new technology either.
"This isn't technology that we're just keeping close to Walgreens," Smith said. "We're sharing it with our competitors because we really believe in our communities, and we don't want these drugs to be out in the street."
By using time delay technology, Walgreens is copying protocols used by banks to keep vaults safe. A sign of the on-going fight to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands.