AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Pharmacy robberies are a growing problem for law enforcement in Maine.
We are now averaging more than 1 pharmacy robbery a week in Maine. So far this year police report 54 pharmacies being robbed. Last year there were 24 for the entire year, and just a few years ago in in 2009 there were only 4.
Law enforcement officials say there are a number of factors driving the rise in robberies at pharmacies. Drugs are harder to come by on the street. The tough economy is another factor, leaving users with less cash to buy drugs.
While the problem is growing police are having success solving these crimes.
"Out of the 54 as of our meeting here today 42 have been cleared by arrest which is a phenomenal clearance rate of about 78-percent and the remaining robberies that are unsolved or unresolved law enforcement continue to pursue leads", said Roy McKinney of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.
With some crimes the high arrest rate may deter people from committing similar crimes, but this is different. In just about all of the pharmacy robberies the crooks are by passing the register and going right for the drugs. Law enforcement officials say the users committing these crime are so focused on getting a fix they're not thinking clearly. So the high arrest rate may not act as much of a deterrent.