Earlier in the month, we spotted this article by the BBC on rural crime and how it has rocketed over the past few years. Many farmers have turned to ‘medieval’ type security measures such as forming earth walls and ditches to hinder casual crime.
Does this make you concerned about your own agricultural security? Whether you prefer to use older methods or modern security, it’s important to make sure you think about all angles and possibilities.
The best way decide what security is best for you is to put yourself in the mind of a criminal. If you were going to carry out a robbery on your own farm, what are your entrance routes, blind spots and how easy would it be?
By determining the risks, you may find that you can put some really simple measures in place to help keep yourself, farm, stock and assets safe.
Physical and Visible Deterrents
Don’t underestimate the power of visible and physical deterrents in the farm. Usually, criminals will suss out their farm or premises of choice before performing offences such as burglary. If they can visibly see that you have security measures in place, the likelihood is that they’ll move on to somewhere else that looks like an easier target.
You can improve your visible deterrents by doing the following;
- Remove all easy to access gates and replace with permanent fences or other strong barriers. If the barrier can’t be easily hopped by a person, then it will be even more difficult to gain entry.
- Consider temporary obstructions to avoid gates being opened in less used areas. Particularly with agricultural vehicles, if there is no obvious way to get it out of the farm then said criminal may look for an easier target.
- Ensure CCTV signage is well placed to show you have a zero crime tolerance and that they will be recorded.
- Thick and prickly bushes can make it difficult to access the farm and can make it look harder to get in. If the bush is tall enough, it can be used as a visual block so they can’t see what is the other side.
We supply Watch Locks from Mul-T-Lock which are perfect for locking up sheds, entrances and expensive assets on farms. This padlock combines a high-security mechanical lock with advanced technological GPS location systems so if the lock is moved, it will send an automatic response to your phone. Find out more about the Watch Locks here.
It’s also important to establish a single main entrance and exit to your property and make it difficult to access any other entrances. We have a full range of padlocks and can help you choose the best one for the job to keep your entrances secure.
In terms of locking assets in safes, we will always recommend buying a new one. However, we appreciate that sometimes budget doesn’t always stretch to the top of the market safes which is why we offer second-hand safes too. Coming in all shapes and sizes, these would be perfect for locking up tools in the barn or keeping all keys safely kept away.
If you use lots of keys on your farm, a key cabinet can be a sensible option for keeping all your keys stored securely. Alternatively, you may consider consolidating all your keys into one through the use of a master key system, this also reduces the risk of internal theft by allowing pre-set levels of access for each key.
Thieves do not like to be seen so with a mix of lighting as well as the CCTV signs as stated above, most trespassers will be discouraged from approaching the farm in fear that they may be seen or recorded. Illumination can also indicate that there may still be people out and working on the farm.
Sensor controlled lighting could be a good cheaper alternative to around the clock CCTV as it will only record and turn on the lights when movement is detected.
What to do if a crime has occurred
If you fall victim to agricultural crime, the first thing you need to do is report it. If someone is in danger, the crime is in progress or someone suspected of a crime is nearby, call 999 as soon as it’s safe for you to do so. If the crime that isn’t an immediate emergency, for example, a car was stolen during the night, then you can contact the police on 101.
After reporting the crime, there are a number of things you can do to give yourself the best chance to catch who did it and more importantly, retrieve any stolen items.
Take lots of photos (providing it’s safe to do so) of the scene including any damage. But remember, you are not the detective so don’t spoil the scene by trying to analyse things yourself as this may hurt your case.
Don’t touch any deceased animals. Animals can carry lots of diseases and could be worse the longer they’ve been dead for. Best to keep away. It’s also important to remember that you don’t know whether a poison has been used in the attack or not.
If you see a crime being committed, don’t try to intervene as you may risk putting yourself in danger. In this case, you would call 999 and they will give you the best advice on what to do next.
Note any appearance details. If you do see the person/ vehicle that you believe could be the suspect, make as many notes as you can. This will help the police at least rule them out if nothing else.
Need a hand?
As a farmer, we understand that it is impossible to lock away all of your assets at night time which makes you more vulnerable to crime. Agricultural crime can be devastating, costly, and can hugely affect your business. Powerful security doesn’t have to cost the world but will be one of your best investments.
If you need advice on what to do next or want to find out what security products we can help you with, give our team a call on 0117 967 4994 or take a look around our website.