Police hope decals prevent break-ins

By Kevin Wheatley Published:

Police and health officials hope a new window decal will curb the number of home break-ins by burglars looking for prescription painkillers.

The decals, which cling to a front door or window and tell would-be burglars that the home is free of unused medications, will be given to those who bring excess prescription pills to Medication Disposal Day at the Franklin County Health Department Aug. 6.

Frankfort Police and the health department ordered 1,000  of them and split the $800 cost, Chief Walter Wilhoite said at a press conference Thursday.

“The idea behind the window cling is potential perpetrators who are looking for drugs would obviously prefer to bypass a home with a window cling stating that all the unused prescription medications have been removed from the household and properly disposed of through the take-back program,” Wilhoite said.

The police chief called the decal a “positive step” in home protection, especially against burglaries focused on prescription drugs.

“… The unique thing about some of the burglaries that we have been seeing is that people are breaking in for prescription medication only,” Wilhoite said.

“They’re bypassing the quick-and-easy stuff that you would typically think somebody would pick up and run off with.”

Maj. Fred Deaton said Ridgeview residents recently started a neighborhood watch program in response to a rash of burglaries in the area.

When police reviewed crime reports in the area, Deaton said all of the break-ins targeted prescription drugs.

“… Every burglary that occurred in that neighborhood either had prescription medication stolen or the area in which you would normally store it had been searched,” Deaton said, noting that sparked the idea for window decals.

Paula Alexander, director of the health department, says the decals are a response to an evolving problem in the community.

Programs like Medication Disposal Day take more pills off the street, and the decals would provide some peace-of-mind for homeowners weary of break-ins, she said.

More than 33,000 doses were collected from some 40 local households during the most recent disposal day in late April.

Local pharmacies have also joined the effort to curb prescription drug abuse, posting dates and times of upcoming disposal days, Alexander added.

Officials say those who’ve dropped off unused prescriptions at past disposal days can drive through the health department Aug. 6 and get a decal.

“I think this illustrates the uniqueness of a partnership of community health, law enforcement and the community itself taking steps to address problems,” Wilhoite said.

“We all have our purviews. Ours is crime, public health’s is public health, but they intertwine so much. So having these partnerships and forging these relationships is why it’s so, so important to do this.”

 

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