Have you been one of the rural businesses affected by rural crime in England and Wales recently? If so, you’ll know the major financial impact it can have. According to a survey carried out by the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN)*, victims suffered a financial loss of £4,100 on average.
For farmers this could come in the form of livestock theft, arson, or fly tipping. But for many, vehicle theft is a major challenge. This is certainly the experience of farmers insured by Rural Insurance, with thefts of ATVs and tractors being the most common form of vehicle targeted. When it comes to ATVs Honda owners will want to make sure their insurance is up to date as this was the brand reported as being most targeted by thieves between April and June last year**.
As the dark nights draw in, farms become more and more susceptible to crime, particularly farm motor theft. While having insurance is an essential part of any vehicle ownership, there are some simple steps that can be taken which could reduce the risk of waking up one morning to find an empty space where your quad or tractor should be.
- Make sure your vehicles are locked and keep the keys in a safe place away
- Fit a tracking device if you can and store your motor vehicles in a locked building
- Install CCTV
- Invest in lighting – whether you fit security lights or ‘dusk till dawn’ sensors, this can be a major deterrent for would-be criminals
- If your gates aren’t already padlocked then think about getting some fitted, along with covers to prevent padlocks being cut off
- If you can, establish a single entrance and exit to your property and plant thorn bushes and hedges around perimeters of the farm.
If you are unlucky enough to fall victim to rural thieves then, as well as having insurance to fall back on, it is re-assuring to know that the police are turning to new and different ways to tackle this issue.
In Essex drones are being employed (through the aptly named operation buzzard) to watch out for would-be criminals and North Yorkshire police launched an app which allows people to receive important crime alerts about their neighborhood. They’ve got more than 15,000 people signed up already***.
Technology is also being used by groups of farmers to stay one step ahead. A group of farmers in Essex have started a WhatsApp group to inform each other of local crime. By sharing pictures of number plates and stolen vehicles they can remain vigilant.
Having insurance is important for when the worst happens but it is great to see how communities are making use of technology in the bid to reduce rural crime.