7 Oct 2015

Farmers urged to report all dodgy behaviour

3:58 pm on 7 October 2015

Rural insurer FMG, Federated Farmers and police have launched a joint rural anti-theft campaign which urges farmers to report suspicious activity, no matter how small it may seem.

On average around 54,000 burglaries are reported each year, or roughly one every 10 minutes.

Farmer farming farm theft thieves police locked door generic

Photo: 123rf.com

FMG general manager of products and services Mike Lange said part of the campaign was to encourage farmers and rural people to report any suspicious behaviour to the police.

"So as soon as they see a dodgy-looking person, car or some sort of odd behaviour in the neighbourhood - whether it's their own farm or somewhere else - they actually do report it," Mr Lange said.

He said they're seeing an alarming number of incidents which, after that incident, someone says they did see something.

"So we actually want people to start to think, 'what can I do? I will actually call the police, I will actually record that (licence plate) number'... whatever it may be. So there's a lot of practical things they can do just by being more engaged with the neighbourhood around the practicalities of that.

"I think one of the alarming things which we know is that, in a Federated Farmers survey they took which was up to 80 percent of farmers think there was no point in calling the police if there was a theft on their property - obviously a modest theft, that might be a chainsaw stolen, electric fencing gear or whatever it may be," Mr Lange said.

"But we're actually recommending that they do do something about those small incidences in the first place."

Mr Lange said there were many things farmers can do to protect their property starting with simply locking things away or removing the keys.

"One of the things that we're really pushing on is that they lock things. One of the most common things that are stolen through our membership... is quad bikes. And often that's with the keys still in the quad bike. So just taking the keys out, some really basic things like that, even if it is just in the cow shed or while they're just dropping off to go and have a smoko or something. There's opportunists that are out there looking for opportunities."

Mr Lange said locking away chainsaws and other smaller, more valuable items such as compressors and welders would be a small everyday precaution that all farmers should take.

He said in the past five years rural theft claims have cost FMG more than $21 million, with farm bikes the most commonly stolen farm item.

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