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									                                                      CRIME PREVENTION
                                                              ON FARMS
                                                                                                No. 1

                                    Crime on Farms
The common perception of life in rural                   Why crime has increased
Australia is that it is virtually crime free.
However, crime in rural communities is on                Two things necessary for a crime to occur
the increase and in some areas, is seriously             include a suitable or attractive target, and an
affecting the quality of life for residents.             opportunity to carry out a crime without
                                                         being detected. One way to understand the
This brochure introduces the Institute for               rise in crime on farms is to examine the
Rural Future's series on Crime Prevention on             increasing influence of these two factors.
Farms. Topics in the series address specific
measures that enable landholders to reduce               Suitable targets
their vulnerability to crime. These measures
have been developed from the ideas and tried             Farmhouses have just as many televisions,
and true initiatives given to us by farmers              stereo systems, video machines and other
across New South Wales. We sincerely                     items that are attractive to thieves, as do
thank them for their valuable contribution.              urban homes. The increasing size of many
                                                         Australian farms means that operations are
                                                         now highly mechanised and capital intensive.
                                                         Properties have more machinery, tools and
                                                         equipment, pesticides, herbicides and
                                                         valuable produce that are of interest to
                                                         thieves. With livestock currently bringing
                                                         excellent prices, there has been an increase in
                                                         the incidence of stock theft.


                                                         The isolation of many rural areas, the ease of
                                                         access to most properties and the portable
                                                         nature of livestock and equipment means
                                                         farms are an inviting opportunity for thieves,
                                                         vandals and other criminals. Remoteness and
                                                         distance between properties increases the
                                                         chance of theft because there is little chance
                                                         that neighbours will observe the thieves.

This Crime Prevention Program has been sponsored by
A second factor related to increased                  Crime prevention on farms
opportunity is the improvement in
transportation systems.       Highways have           The basic philosophy of all crime prevention
improved, and a large proportion of country           programs is to decrease opportunity.
roads are now sealed. Therefore, most rural           Country people can take positive and
areas are easily accessible. The improvement          effective steps toward reducing crime by
in the speed and power of modern vehicles             taking responsibility to secure their own
also increases the accessibility and                  property and by being alert to suspicious
opportunity for crime. For example, with              activity in the neighbourhood. There are no
modern transports, livestock can be stolen,           guarantees in life and that includes the
transported and disposed of even before the           prevention of crime. But every action to
theft is discovered.                                  prevent crime contributes to greater security.

Improved transportation also means that               Use judgement
country people have increased their time
away from their properties, shopping in               Crime prevention on farms requires
major urban centres or participating in off-          judgement. Not every crime prevention
farm employment. As a result, rural homes             practice is needed on every farm. Your
are vacant more often and for longer periods          judgement is best. You need to work out
of time and are therefore, more vulnerable.           how much and what type of security
                                                      measures are necessary to avoid the loss, the
There have been an increasing number of city          inconvenience and anxiety associated with
people who purchase weekend country                   crime on farms.
retreats on small acreages near large urban
centres. There are also many city dwellers            The Institute for Rural Futures has developed
who move permanently to rural communities             a series of publications on Crime Prevention
to take advantage of cheaper housing and              on Farms. Each publication describes a
cost of living. In many areas, there are              specific aspect of reducing opportunity for
increasing numbers of transient workers               crime. The topics include:
seeking seasonal farm work. These social                  Livestock theft.
changes have meant that local residents are               Fuel tank security.
no longer assured that they know everyone in              Farm machinery theft.
their community. This has lessened the                    Identification of tools and equipment.
security of once close-knit communities. In               Farmhouse security.
addition, while crime is increasing in rural              Seed and grain theft.
areas, the number of police in rural areas has            Rural Watch.
not.                                                      Reporting a crime to Police.
                                                          Illegal trespassers and shooters.
A final factor influencing increased                      Farm security generally.
opportunity for crime is that for many years,
country people have enjoyed the freedom of
living in areas that were relatively free of          For more information, or if you wish to comment on
crime. This has encouraged people to lead a           the material in this leaflet, or if you have any other
more trusting and casual way of life, which           suggestions for crime prevention strategies on farm,
means that many rarely lock up or secure              please contact Elaine Barclay at:
their properties and therefore, are easy targets      THE INSTITUTE FOR RURAL FUTURES
for thieves. Country people can no longer             University of New England
afford to be as casual about security but this        Armidale, NSW 2351
does not mean they have to accept crime or            Telephone: Freecall 1800 652 592
become victims. There are many things they            Facsimile:            (02) 6773 3245
can do.                                               Email:

This Crime Prevention Program has been sponsored by

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