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Theft offences affecting hard working farmers | The Courier


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Authorities are urging farmers to enhance safety on their properties as new statistics spotlight a rise in farm-related crimes. It comes as Crime Stoppers Victoria and Victoria Police have launched the Shut Out Farm Crime marketing campaign as theft of livestock, instruments and equipment from farms continues to be a widespread concern throughout the state. New knowledge from the Crime Statistics Agency highlights the persevering with downside of livestock theft. It exhibits the offending rose by 12.6 per cent within the yr ending December 2021, inflicting losses of greater than $2.7 million. Most stories of stolen livestock had been from western Victoria. Sheep had been mostly stolen, with a document $1,886,567 price of sheep reported as stolen to police final yr. Cattle price greater than $755,000 had been additionally reported as stolen, along with steer price $44,000, horses price $41,500 and goats price $34,000. Warrak sheep farmer Daniel Buckingham has beforehand misplaced a few of his animals to thieves. Once he misplaced 37 extremely high quality merinos – his prime line. Meanwhile, as gas costs are rising, so too has diesel and petrol theft. The knowledge exhibits greater than $35,000 price of gas was stolen final yr. Mr Buckingham is especially involved concerning the rise in gas theft given the surging prices for the time being. He mentioned it was a distinguished concern given farmers utilised massive tanks so a couple of lacking litres of gas might probably go undetected. “There’s been a number of occasions I feel… absolutely I did not undergo this a lot gas. “When someone’s taken 30 or 60 litres out of a 300 or 400-litre tank you’re probably not going to take too much notice of it. I think it’s going to be an increasing problem,” Mr Buckingham mentioned. Beaufort farmer James Kirkpatrick mentioned farmers could possibly be considered as straightforward targets. “…There’s a lot they will take. It’s not simply attempting to interrupt right into a checking account, there’s most likely $60,000 price of instruments you can simply take out of a workshop.” The data shows more than $7,260,000 worth of property was stolen from farms across Victoria last year alone. Of what was taken included $623,000 worth of farm equipment, in addition to more than $160,000 in machinery. “An ATV bike, welders and two wheel bikes. There’s quite a lot of issues they will simply tackle a trailer or placed on the again of a ute, however it upsets our enterprise once we wish to go and use it however it’s not there. “Then you need to go through the process of claiming it on insurance and dealing with the police, trying to get a result.” Deterring and addressing farm crime has turn into a spotlight of Victoria Police. The Farm Crime Coordination Unit, primarily based in Geelong, was arrange a number of years in the past to watch farm crime traits to unravel extra circumstances. It is headed by former Ballarat police officer, Inspector Karl Curran, who mentioned the rise in crime recorded within the farming and rural sectors was a priority, but additionally mirrored a rise in reporting incidents to police. Inspector Curran mentioned campaigns encouraging reporting had highlighted historic underreporting within the agriculture sector and so police had been inspired there was extra confidence in reporting farm crime to police. He added that police would “fully investigate” all crimes reported and the extra data and stories obtained assisted in figuring out traits and permitting sources to be positioned in areas of concern. “As I have often said, we cannot investigate what we do not know.” His sentiments had been echoed by Dr Alistair Harkness, the co-director of the Centre for Rural Criminology on the University of New England. He mentioned that not reporting farm crime might imply sources weren’t allotted to deal with the difficulty in downside areas. “If the reality of farm crime is not known, then appropriate attention cannot be paid at either local or state-wide levels,” Dr Harkness mentioned. Crime Stoppers Victoria’s chief govt, Stella Smith, inspired victims of farm crime to make a report. “When you come to Crime Stoppers, you control how much information you give us. You decide whether you want to say who you are, you decide how much information you share,” Ms Smith mentioned. “Not speaking up allows criminals to get away with offending and it affects farmers economically. If they don’t have money to spend in the local community, that impacts local traders as well.” She mentioned farmers handled floods and drought and “shouldn’t have to put up with thieves as well”. Mr Kirkpatrick inspired fellow property homeowners to take steps to make their farms safer. “Improve your security measures, it makes it hard for the criminals to come and break into your property and take things,” Mr Kirkpatrick mentioned. Inspector Curran mentioned some easy methods to stop farm crime included locking gates and sheds, securing instruments and tools and, the place attainable, locking gas bowsers and storage tanks. Related protection: Farm crime on the radar of Victoria Police Related protection: How can we sort out rural crime in Victoria? Related protection: Why police are persevering with to sort out farm crime It can also be advisable to put in CCTV and sensor lights round sheds and yards, and to frequently conduct head counts of inventory to determine any thefts as quickly as attainable. Another technique to deter thieves is to pin up warning indicators that shall be available at agricultural occasions all year long. “The farm gate signs we have provided have proved incredibly popular and we’re pleased to be able to offer even more free to farmers as well as new warning stickers through our partnership with Crime Stoppers,” Inspector Curran said. “They’re easy measures however can go a protracted technique to discouraging farm crime and its devastating results on native communities.” Anyone with information about farm crime is urged to make an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or crimestoppersvic.com.au. Have you signed up to The Courier’s variety of news emails? 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