How to prevent theft and malicious acts on your farm

Many associate rural Australia with a peaceful, happy lifestyle – free of the hustle and bustle experienced in the city. 

It's not all rolling hills and beautiful farmland, however. In fact, rates of crime are surprisingly high in remote settings. A recent report by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) found that 27 per cent of dairy and broadacre farming operations surveyed had been victims of property crime during the twelve-month survey. 

So what can farmers do to keep from falling victim to theft, crime and other malicious acts? 

Crime is surprisingly common in rural Australia.Crime is surprisingly common in rural Australia.

The shocking rate of crime on Australian farms

Farmers are not only likely to experience property crime, but repeat instances of it. At least one in five farmers report that they have been the victim of crime more than once, according to a recent Crime and Safety survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Examples of such events include:

  • Livestock theft, 
  • Arson, 
  • Vandalism, 
  • Fraud,
  • Drug production,
  • Dumping of rubbish.

Several factors contribute to high rates of repeat crime on Australian farms. For one, there's a great deal of distance between properties. This remoteness can make criminals feel much more bold than they would in a more crowded setting. Further, there is a more relaxed attitude about security in the back country, as well as an increased awareness of the value of farm equipment, livestock and certain expensive crops.

Tips to help you prevent crime on your farm 

If you've already experienced property crime or simply want to avoid becoming a victim, there are steps to help protect your property and livelihood. 

1. Have someone watch your property while you're away

If you're planning to go out of town, ask a friend or trusted neighbour to watch your property while you're gone. In addition to looking over your assets, they should also do their best to give the impression that the home is occupied.

Have them check your mail, put out the rubbish bin on collection day, turn on lights now and again and even keep their vehicle parked there if possible. You don't want to give thieves or vandals the impression that the farm is unoccupied. 

2. Regularly check the condition of gates and fences

Don't make it easy for trespassers to enter your farm. Check that gates and fences are in good condition and keep them locked whenever they aren't in use. 

Similarly, always lock doors and windows, particularly at night. 

Ensure farm building doors are locked and secure. Ensure farm building doors are locked and secure.

3. Install alarms and display stickers around property

If you keep many high-value items – such as tools and equipment – in a certain space, install a security alarm that will notify you and the police about any intruders. 

Additionally, display clear signs promoting the crime prevention measures you've taken – as well as those you haven't. While it would be ideal to have CCTV in place, you can also deter crime to an extent simply by giving the impression that you do. 

If you're worried about your employees, these signs are also good deterrents for malicious acts within the workplace. 

Fuel is one of the most commonly stolen items on farms.

4. Avoid storing too much fuel in vehicles

Fuel is one of the most commonly stolen items on farms. To avoid this, ensure tanks are secured and locked and avoid keeping too much fuel in the vehicles themselves.

It's also a good measure to install lights around tanks and vehicles and keep a fuel consumption log so theft can be identified and dealt with quickly. 

5. Purchase adequate crop insurance 

Unfortunately, even the most cautious farmer cannot completely protect themselves from property crime and malicious acts. 

That's why there's specialised crop insurance. At Primacy Underwriting Management, we understand that the weather isn't the only risk farmers and growers face. Your livelihood could also be affected by the work of criminals and vandals, which is why many of our comprehensive policies offer coverage against such acts.

To find out more, reach out today