Security measures help tackle rural crime
As reports indicate that both rural and local crime have soared, protective security measures can act as a necessary deterrent.
Crime in rural areas soars
In August 2015, the Insurer NFU’s annual survey showed a reduction in crime in the rural areas of Scotland. As it reportedly cost the economy £1.8m in 2014, a reduction of £100,000 (1.9 million) from 2013, the insurance companies praised communities for adopting protective action including installing tracking systems for agricultural vehicles.
Fast-forward a year to the 2016 annual survey and the NFU Mutual reports that the cost of rural crime in the UK has risen to £42 million.
On 1st August 2016, the BBC reported that in Shropshire, one farm and country superstore’s manager has clearly felt the rise in theft in recent months and weeks, creating fear within the community. As a result, he went on to say, more people are buying padlocks and other protective measures, as well as purchasing items such as, power tools, large expensive lawn mowers and boots to replace stolen items.
However, the National Rural Crime Network’s report and recommendations ‘The true cost of crime in rural areas‘, indicates that the true cost of rural crime in rural could exceed £800 million.
The survey, which asked over 17,000 people living and working in rural areas throughout England and Wales, places the financial impact of rural crime at 21 times higher than previous estimates. It also suggests that farmers and young families face the toughest impact, with the average cost for a household estimated at over £2,500 and a business at over £4,100.
Technology provides solution
Whether it is tools in isolated farm buildings or expensive vehicles, a small group of farmers in Herefordshire support the recent NFU figures. And in a bid to eradicate theft and burglaries from being commonplace in the rural community, the farmers have invested in technology. The group of farmers took action by strategically placing digital cameras and motion sensors in various locations around just over 100 farms under the ‘Stop that thief’ scheme.
Since installing the equipment, not a single one of the 100 plus farms has been targeted again and believe it’s a vital investment for a challenging industry. After all, the disruption that stolen machinery can have on the farmer’s ability to work may be far greater than the cost of installing security measures.
Rise in burglaries
As latest figures reveal the tremendous rise in burglaries across Hampshire, practical and innovative security installations offer some protection. On 29th July 2016, the Daily Echo reported, that in just one week, 35 homes across Southampton, Eastleigh, Romsey and the New Forest were hit by thieves.
In a bid to warn homeowners about the importance of securing their homes, the police are issuing an urgent warning to residents to increase their security.
In the course of the week’s 35 burglaries in the local area, thousands of pounds worth of property including electrical items such as laptops and TVs were stolen, as well as jewellery, bikes and red wine.
“Leaving windows open all day is sometimes an invitation for the opportunistic burglar,” said Detective Inspector John McGonigle. “Similarly, it’s important to lock garden gates and garage doors when you’re not around. Tidy tools away, don’t leave valuables on display and ensure you lock up properly before going to bed.”
In Hampshire, latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that over 40% of crimes went unsolved last year. In addition, the number of recorded offences were up by nearly 20,000 in the year March 2015- March 2016, with 133,044 crimes committed compared to 111,836 in 2014-2015.
Hampshire police have sought to reassure the public by stating that this seeming increase “does not necessarily mean there is more crime on our streets or in our homes”, and may be an indication that crime is being recorded differently.
Impact of burglary
Following the release of the National Rural Crime Network’s report and recommendations, Julia Mulligan, chair of the NRCN and Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: “Our report comes at a critical time when the structure and funding for policing are being fundamentally reassessed. Some of the findings in this report make uncomfortable reading but it is vitally important for the reality of rural crime to be fully acknowledged and acted upon”.
While these figures are startling, so too is the level of fear towards crime. Of those asked, 32% of respondents said they are now more fearful of becoming victims of crime than in 2010, compared to only 3% who are less fearful. Rural businesses, including farmers, are the most fearful of becoming victims of crime, with 51% very or fairly fearful. This is closely followed by younger families.
As this increasing fear is coupled with low satisfaction rates of police performance, especially in rural communities, this leads to frustration, concern and limited crime reporting. In fact, the survey shows that more than a quarter (27%) of victims of crime did not report the crime to the police and only 23% of respondents believe in the police’s ability to solve crime.
Protective, deterrent measures such as installing security devices are providing home and business owners with an effective solution that gives peace of mind.