Preventing farm theft

What is far more insidious and concerning is the growing trend to target - and steal - firearms

FARM theft is far more sophisticated today than the "poddy dodging" of old, knocking off a couple of steers or a sheep or two.

And this week, senior police in Victoria have said livestock theft has been stagnant for some years. However, what is far more insidious and concerning is the growing trend to target - and steal - firearms.

Longarms are a handy weapon in the arsenal of criminals; cut-down shotguns and rifles are a commodity, like drugs or money.

While senior police are quick to point out most guns are stored safely and securely, it's the properties left unattended where problems can arise.

Police have this week insisted it's time farmers had more frank discussions about the storage of firearms, particularly if the landholder is away for a long period of time.

They have suggested farmers seriously need to consider more safer storage areas, such as at a local police station or gun dealer.

Aside from firearms, machinery, plant and equipment are also ready targets for thieves.

It has even been reported antiques were stolen from one property, while the owner was on a shopping trip in town.

While the trusting nature of many rural residents is to be applauded - no-one wants to see the kind of gated societies which have sprung up in the capitals - there is a down side to that trust.

One officer said farmers could sometimes be blasé about security. They leave keys in tractors and farm bikes, sheds unlocked and equipment in isolated areas - so prevention is the main message.

Then there's the issue of under-reporting of theft.

Often an offender is known, and should they steal the odd head cow or sheep, they are more often dealt with by the community.

That might mean not patronising their store, shunning, or even confronting the offender.

Police are certainly there to assist in crime prevention, with 48 agricultural liaison officers in all areas of the State.

Working closely with the Victorian Farmers Federation, both groups are keen to drive down farm crime through various strategies, but police are keen to press home the message: "prevention is better than cure".

StockLand
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READER COMMENTS

victor
15/08/2014 1:33:19 PM

Ever reported a farm theft in NSW? I did and was met with supreme indifference by local police who didn't even bother to attend.
BB
15/08/2014 5:42:13 PM

How about investigating those who have stolen the profits from farming.
Barcoo
15/08/2014 6:20:11 PM

I agree with you Victor. A neighbour of mine and myself, at different times, both found that on reporting theft of sheep, a hundred or more at a time, to the local police Stock Squad, received nothing more than a commitment to "make a note of it".
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