Victoria Police is today joining forces with Crime Stoppers Victoria and the Victorian Farmers Federation to put a focus on crimes affecting Victoria’s farmers as part of the ‘Locals Get Vocal’ campaign.
The campaign aims to draw attention to the issues the farming community face when their livelihoods are threatened by thieves.
Criminals commonly target farms to steal livestock, equipment, fuel, hay and firearms.
Farm Crime Coordinator Inspector Karl Curran said stealing from farm and properties had a huge impact.
“In the past 12 months, livestock worth more than $1.9 million was stolen across Victoria,” he said.
“There were 3588 crimes reported in the previous 12 months where tools, equipment, pumps, trailers and fuel were stolen equating to approximately $1.4 million.
“These crimes are facilitated by an abundance of property, isolation and remoteness.”
Insp Curran said rural properties were often targeted by offenders searching for firearms.
“There were 134 firearms, as well as ammunition, stolen during burglaries across the state over the past year,” he said.
“Most rural property owners use firearms as part of their jobs and offenders are well aware of this.
“While most firearms are safely stored, they are often kept on remote properties and the theft is often not discovered for days or even weeks.
“We had a Sterling 12-gauge shotgun and Bruno 22 Rimfire rifle reported stolen from a gun safe at a farming property at Kongwak on Thursday.
“The owner last saw the firearms on 3 January so it’s believed the theft occurred sometime between 3 January and 27 February.
“Any witnesses or anyone with information is urged to contact Wonthaggi Police Station on 5671 4100 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”
Insp Curran said it was important that farmers always reported thefts to police for investigation.
“Despite the significant impact these thefts have on Victorian farmers, we still have the issue of incidents not being reported,” he said.
“Having a comprehensive log of equipment and tools including make, model and serial numbers assists us trace stolen items and helps us solve crimes.
“All theft is worth reporting – even if you don’t know the date it occurred.”
Inspector Curran said the creation of the Farm Crime Coordination Unit in September last year would oversee Victoria Police’s Farm Crime Liaison Officers.
“The new unit allows for the monitoring and coordination of all aspects of farm crime in the state providing clarity on crime trends – leading to an increase in the number of cases solved and ultimately reducing crime,” he said.
“It has also provided more consistent training to our Farm Crime Liaison Officers to enable the most up-to-date strategies and advice are provided to the farming and agricultural community.”
For more information about Victoria Police’s Farm Crime Liaison Officers, please visit https://www.police.vic.gov.au/farm-crime-liaison-officers or https://www.police.vic.gov.au/farm-and-rural-safety.