Farm and rural theft can jeopardise the farming business and severely penalise the local economy. Farm theft is serious business and local authorities like Lincolnshire and Suffolk have posted guidelines for farmers to protect their equipment and property.
As basic as it seems, creating accurate inventory lists can be a challenge for farmers who for so long never considered the possibility that their livestock, equipment and vehicles would be at risk. Police departments suggest this is one of the important steps in preventing crime and recovering found farm equipment.
Identifying your equipment, your livestock and tools make them hard to sell, even in the black market. Police recommend photographing piece of heavy equipment, recording vehicle serial numbers, the year and make of the equipment and, if possible, engraving your name, address and postal code on every piece of equipment and every tool.
When storing tools, make sure they are not plainly visible. Keeping tools in a dedicated and secured area of the larger storage unit is recommended. This will also facilitate inventory control.
With the rising price of fuel and oil, police recommend that farmers pay special attention to securing these commodities. In many cases, this can mean securing containers in locked areas and securing them with locked chains.
All farm vehicles should be immobilised when not in use. Machinery should always be removed from fields when not in use. Remember, parts to this machinery has value on the black market. Be especially protective of equipment that is left by the road.
Protect Your Livestock
Authorities suggest policing up the perimeter. Ditches provide a nice perimeter boundary. Fences should be checked regularly. Gates should be secure and locked. Remember to check hinges and look for signs of prying. If there are bushes around grazing pastures, keep them trimmed.
Most importantly, check on your livestock periodically during the day. This can be challenging. Many farmers have installed closed circuit television systems so that field activities can be monitored during the day.
There are professional burglars who have the equipment and experience to drive onto an unprotected field, move livestock into a truck and be gone in minutes. Are you providing a strong defence against these perpetrators? Police constantly warn against complacency.
Especially prized livestock should be photographed. Authorities strongly recommend earmarking all livestock. Cattle grids should be removable and locked out of position when not in use. If the pastures have large openings to roads or other green areas, place locking posts for more protection. These posts should contain the livestock and keep the bad guys out.
Farmhouses Are at Risk
Because of their isolated locations, the typical farmhouse provides an appetising target for the common burglar. British Standard deadlocks should be used on all exterior doors. Use security chains on as many doors as possible. Burglar alarms create the burglar’s biggest fear, noise. Noise puts the burglar on edge and can often discourage forced entry on its own.
Farmers should be aware of criminal activity in the area. Make it your business to know if burglaries have happened in the area. Participate in a local Farm Watch network and work with police to tighten security in the area.
Develop an action plan if something does go wrong. Speed dial the police immediately. Maintain an accurate list of all livestock, tools equipment and machinery. Be prepared to identify missing items. Have as many photographs as possible. Be sure to keep shotguns and any weapons in a very secure and hidden area of the farmhouse. Invest in a high quality safe and keep loose jewelry and cash in the safe. If you have antiques of personal valuables, inventory and photograph them.
Local police will tell you that a steel outbuilding is a price-effective crime deterrent. Steel outbuildings come in a variety of sizes, are easy to construct and likely to be the most secure building on the farm.
Of course, you will want steel security doors and British Standard locks but the peace of mind alone is worth the investment. Many insurance companies offer discounts to farms with steel storage buildings.
Install quality locking bars and only use high integrity padlocks to secure your investment. When your steel outbuilding is not in use, make sure farm policy is that it is locked and secured.
To increase the security of this building, install motion light detectors that activate the flood lights when movement is detected by the sensors. Many farmers are investing in cameras to record all activity in and around the outbuildings. Images can be sent directly to a desktop or to a mobile device. These closed circuit monitors are very effective crime deterrents. Police suggest posting signs that the property is monitored with cameras, even if the system is not in place.
Meet with your provider every year and notify the cm if any new acquisitions are made. Being underinsured can be a serious problem for crime and other events.
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