In recent years crime in rural areas has risen significantly due to a number of factors, thankfully many constabularies are putting resources back into policing these areas by forming rural crime units and similar initiatives. As a Smallholder what can you do to lessen the chances of becoming a victim of rural crime?

The lions share of crime in the countryside is concerned with theft and what we call ‘burglary non-dwelling’ that is theft from outbuildings and sheds.

Thefts often occur following some form of ‘reconnaissance’ , this can be by way of persons visiting your property under a pretence such as “I have run out of petrol can I use your phone?” or other more legitimate reasons such as scrap collecting.

The facts of the matter are that most of the thefts that have occurred on my Exmoor farms have occurred following such ‘visits’, they certainly may be co-incidence but there is nothing wrong with being cautious.

I would firstly suggest that you contact your local police team and see what initiatives they have to target rural crime, we have ‘Rural Watch’ which forms the backbone of our operation and starts with marking and recording your property.

Join a neighbourhood watch scheme; these days neighbourhood watch is very well utilised by the police and we use them almost daily to report suspicious activity in the area and to request observations for certain vehicles for example.

Joining will allow you to receive information via phone or e-mail about the types of crimes occurring in your area and allow you to have an early ‘heads-up’ and perhaps prevent the same happening to you.

For the full article see the December edition of Smallholder magazine.

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