FARMERS are being urged to protect themselves against rising rural property theft by locking up their homes and ensuring they report theft to police.
In a state first Victoria Police hosted a dedicated rural crime forum in Bendigo, for all Central Victorian farmers – aimed at ensuring farmers were aware of the ways they could reduce the likelihood of theft.
Farmers supported the forum CrimeStoppers supported Victoria Police announcing it would for the first time launch new initiatives aimed at raising awareness about the most common forms of rural and farm crime, including theft of livestock, equipment and firearms.
A new rural tab has also been added to the Crime Stoppers website, enabling farmers to report information confidentially about crimes specific to rural and regional communities.
Speaking at the launch of the Farm Security Expo at Bendigo Stadium, Crime Stoppers Victoria CEO Samantha Hunter stressed the importance for members of rural communities to protect themselves and their livelihoods.
“Rural crime is a problem right across Victoria, but it’s one that remains largely under-reported.” Ms Hunter said.
Rural crime is a problem right across Victoria, but it’s one that remains largely under-reported.Sam Hunter
“It’s up to everyone in rural and regional Victoria to report what they know, and to protect themselves against people trying to benefit from someone else’s hard work.”
Federation University criminal justice lecturer Alistair Harkness said previous survey showed farm crime was under reported, with only 50 per cent of crimes brought to police attention.
He said farmers were often fearful of retribution, thought it had been too long between the time the crime was committed and the time they noticed and thought they would not be taken seriously by police.
“The impact of this is that police don’t have an accurate picture (of farm crimes),” he said. He said there were 48 Victoria Police agricultural liaison officers across the state and encouraged farmers to get to know them.
Report crime to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.