POLICE hosted a barbecue in Avoca on Friday afternoon to continue to raise awareness of rural safety and security.
As part of the We're In It Together campaign, police members from Avoca and Landsborough were joined by Local Area Commander Inspector Dan Davison, a Divisional Crime Prevention Officer and two Divisional Firearms Officers to discuss farm crime and how to prevent it with the community.
An initiative of the Pyrenees Community Safety Network, police hosted the barbecue to encourage people to stop by and discuss their concerns about theft and farm crime and learn about ways to prevent them from becoming victims.
How to properly secure firearms was another issue of discussion.
With stock an increasingly valuable commodity and farm crime seemingly increasing, police want to work with communities to deter, disrupt and detect offences and offenders. But farm crime, and crime in general, continues to be under-reported for a range of reasons.
Inspector Davison said it was important for police to be informed of even the most minor thefts as every piece of information was valuable and also assists with how and where police resources are allocated.
"Even if it's just a snippet of information, it could be the information police are looking for to solve a major crime," he said.
While stock theft continues to be a major issue with more than $1.6 million worth of livestock stolen from farms across Victoria in the past year, another major concern for police is firearms theft.
Inspector Davison encouraged people to regularly count their stock as the biggest issue was often that most reports of theft were not made in a timely manner, with a lot of missing stock only noticed at shearing or drenching time, making investigations difficult.
Locking gates and installing CCTV at standard access points to deter people from entering a property is also recommended.
Just last week a police operation saw 30 firearms seized, many of which had allegedly been used in burglaries across the region, Inspector Davison said.
"Lawful firearm owners also need to play their part by locking up their firearms so they don't get stolen and end up in the wrong hands," he said.
"It is a timely reminder that when these firearms are stolen they can end up in the worst hands."
He encouraged people in rural communities who see suspicious looking vehicles to call their local police, 000 or to make a report with Crime Stoppers.
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