Farm theft is a live threat that can strike at any time. Gardaí say €1.4 million worth of stolen goods were taken from farms last year and although the rural crime rate is down, farmers should remain vigilant. The loss of assets can be devastating to any business so ensuring your livestock, vehicles, machinery and equipment are safely secured is a must.
In many cases, taking simple precautionary measures can have a hugely positive impact on the safety of your farm. It’s not all about high-end security equipment and changing the way you run things, but there are several areas that can be easily overlooked which could reduce the risk of your land being targeted. We took a look at some of the ways you can protect your farm from theft.
Assessment - Take the time to do a walk of your farm and see if there’s anything that sticks out to you as a potential crime target. What is the access to the area like? Is there anything left lying around that could be stolen? It’s a good place to start to see if there is anything you would change to make the area more secure.
Keys - Don’t leave your keys unattended in a vehicle. Approximately 1 in every 3 tractors and 3 out of every 4 vans are stolen from farms with a key. Also, make sure the place where all keys are stored is not in plain sight and sticks out as an easy target.
Boundaries - Ensure all boundaries surrounding the farm are secure and kept maintained such as fences, walls and hedges.
Equipment - Tag your equipment. Brand your name and details on each appliance, machine and vehicle so it can be identified if stolen. Where possible, keep pens for animals, as well as equipment, vehicles and valuables, away from the roads so passers-by don’t know what you own.
Animals - It’s important to count your animals regularly and also ensure their tags and records are all up to date.
Lighting - Invest in a good lighting system for around the farm where it’s possible to do so. Many criminals attempt to rob areas at night when visibility is poorer so having proper lighting makes it less attractive to target.
Alarms - Consider getting alarm systems in your sheds or if you already have them, regularly check they’re in working order.
Feeding - Vary the feeding times for your animals. If you have a set routine on the farm, criminals will know when the farm is unattended and when best to strike.
Photos - Take photos of the farm and everything you own to have it on file if it's ever needed after a theft - for insurance purposes, for example.
Community - You can’t be on the farm at all times so having neighbours who will let you know if they see anything suspicious and that you’d do the same for them means another layer of protection.
Protect your farm even further by having a Farm Insurance policy in place that suits your needs. Talk to your insurer today to discuss the best cover options for you and your farm.