By Brook, James
24/09/2015

Help protect yourself from rural crime

Crime rates in rural Britain are soaring according to the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN).

Rural crime costs the economy £800m last year, a report by the organisation has claimed.

The survey of 17,000 respondents found that rural crime, which includes theft of tractors and other agricultural machinery, costs 21 times more than previous estimates.

Adding to this, the report claimed that more than a quarter of rural crimes go unreported, mean the actual figure could be far higher.

In the past we have written about how to help keep your oil tank safe, but given the rise in rural crime we thought it was high time for a wider look at how to keep your property safe.

To keep yourself safe in the country you should consider the following things:

Home

  • Join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

Neighbourhood Watch schemes can be very effective as the more eyes looking out for crime the better. Meetings are also an opportunity for people to come together and share information, which can help residents and the police get a fuller picture of any crimes that might have been committed.

  • Fit British Standard deadlocks to all downstairs windows and always lock windows when not in use.

Burglars are often opportunistic so by making life as difficult as possible for them, they are much more likely to leave your property alone.

  • Fit dawn to dusk lighting.

These ensure your property is well lit even on the darkest winter night and will mean any intruder can be easily spotted.

  • Fit intruder alarms and CCTV.

Although more expensive than lighting, alarms and CCTV are not only a great deterrent to criminals, they can also catch them while they are committing a crime.

Outbuildings

Often rural crime is directed at outbuildings rather than homes, with criminals seeking expensive agricultural equipment. You can help protect yourself by:

  • Fitting sturdy doors with quality locking bars and padlocks.

As with your house, if it is difficult for a criminal to get into your outbuilding there is far more chance they will leave it alone, especially if you have fitted dawn to dusk lighting and CCTV outside.

  • Protect windows with metal bars or grilles or consider blocking them up.

By preventing potential criminals seeing inside your outbuildings, you make it difficult to know if somewhere is worth breaking into. But if you have to have windows, ensure they are not a point of entry by fitting quality glass and bars or grilles to stop anyone accessing them that way.

  • Fit dawn to dusk lighting and CCTV outside any outbuildings.

Livestock

Although livestock theft is not as common as it once was it still takes place. To help ensure livestock are kept safe:

  • Regularly check perimeter fencing for damage.

This can be a sign thieves are watching your livestock. If you see any signs of damage repair it immediately and be on the lookout for unfamiliar vehicles.

  • Ensure field gates and in good working order and fit sturdy padlocks to them.

This will hopefully deter would-be thieves by making it difficult to access and remove livestock.

  • Mark your stock in one of the recognised way – ear tagging, freeze marking, microchip implants, nose printing, hoof marking, and dye marking.

Strict regulations are in force in relation to the marking of farm livestock dependant on animal species. All ear tags should be securely stored to prevent theft.

  • Ask your neighbours to be a check on your livestock when you’re away and offer to do the same for them.
  • Report any suspicious livestock disappearances to the police straight away, as it enable them to warn other livestock owners in the area.

Although this is not an extensive list of how to keep your property safe in the countryside these tips are good places to start. For more information look on your local police force’s website, or pop in to your local station to discuss how to keep your property safe.

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