Saturday 25th May 2024
HomeRuralFarmers – Fed up on rural crime

Farmers – Fed up on rural crime

 

Rather than Christmas bells, alarm bells are ringing throughout our rural communities following the release of disconcerting statistics about rural crime.

According to a recent survey, farmers are being plagued by thieves, rustlers and poachers but not enough are reporting their losses, Rick Powdrell from Federated Farmers says.

“Farmers should not hesitate to report crime and should regularly review their security measures. We have to play our part. Police can’t do it on their own; rural people can’t do it on their own.”

More than 1000 farmers responded. More than a quarter (26 percent) had stock stolen in the last five years with more than 3% hit five times or more during the same period.

Property has also been targeted, including theft of chainsaws, shearing gear, generators, fencing tools, fuel and, worryingly, firearms.

Some respondents also said they had heard gunshots at night and/or confronted people with rifles who had no permission to be on their land.

However, nearly 60% said they had not reported stock theft, and 38% had not reported stolen property to police.

Commonly, respondents did not report thefts believing police would not be interested or their resources were too stretched to investigate, particularly in cases where a theft was not discovered for several days or even weeks.

Some respondents also commented that they had heard gunshots at night and/or confronted people with rifles who had no permission to be on their land.

To add insult to injury, nearly half of property, and 75% of stock thefts were not covered by insurance. Of those that were, claims were not made in 40-50% of cases, usually due to policy excesses.

While Federated Farmers believes the survey results underpin the need for extra police resourcing for rural areas, education and cooperation with police and neighbours could prove crucial in curbing these disturbing trends.

“Police have told us time and again at rural crime workshops they’ve hosted with Federated Farmers and FMG that they want to hear about all offending,” Mr Powdrell says.
“This helps build a comprehensive picture of what crime is happening, where and at what time. They can then direct resources accordingly and considerably boost the chances of making arrests.”

Even when information doesn’t lead to arrests, it is invaluable to police in delivering warnings via Rural Neighbourhood Support and other networks, he adds.

Some respondents also commented that they had heard gunshots at night and/or confronted people with rifles who had no permission to be on their land.

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