“Draw the line on regional crime” is the central message to the new Regional Crime Campaign being launched today.
In NSW, more than 80% of farmers have reported being a victim of crime according to new research by the Centre for Rural Criminology, University of New England. Even more critical is the high levels of repeat victimisation, with more than 76% of farmers being a victim of crime on more than two occasions, and more than 23% experiencing crime more than seven times*.
Crime Stoppers and the NSW Police Force are launching a state-wide crime campaign today (Monday 5 April 2021) to address awareness of regional crimes, prevention measures and to increase reporting to Crime Stoppers and the police.
Regional crime can affect individual’s finances and safety directly but can also have a more widespread impact on the prosperity of the town and its people. In regional areas, the perception of a community, its safety, its people, and its economic situation can affect tourism, impact on its attraction of high-quality health professionals or teachers and other essential service providers. But it doesn’t stop there. Crimes in regional areas have a flow-on effect, impacting pricing, distribution, and availability of produce everywhere.
The campaign will provide information on how regional communities can deter or prevent crime in their area while encouraging everyone to report crime. The message to the NSW community is: Any information on any crime anytime.
The Crime Stoppers contact centre operates 24/7, 365 days a year and all information captured is in complete confidence.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, is urging regional residents to report any piece of information no matter how small to Crime Stoppers and the NSW Police.
“It’s disheartening to hear more than 80% of our farmers have reported being victims of criminal activity. Our farmers have had a shocking few years with drought, bushfires, COVID-19 and floods – adding victim-of-crime to the mix is reprehensible,” Mr Elliott said.
“We’re calling on the NSW community to report any information on any crime anytime. If you know something, say something.
“We’ve seen firsthand the resilience of our farmers, but I draw the line on regional crime.”
NSW Crime Stoppers CEO, Peter Price AM, said, “We don’t want to know who you are; we just want to know what you know.”
“Today we are launching a campaign to draw the line on regional crime. Crime Stoppers is calling for a whole of community approach to draw the line on crime and adopt better prevention strategies and be on the lookout for any suspicious behaviour. The result will be a better, more prosperous future and healthier communities that thrive,” Mr Price said.
Crime Stoppers is working with the NSW Police Force Rural Crime Prevention Team and the Police Transport and Public Safety Command across a range of major crime areas including stock theft, marine theft and poaching.
Stock theft, as one example, has a significant financial impact on our farmers. Between 2015 and 2020, there has been a conservative estimated value of $22.5m worth of sheep and cattle reported stolen within NSW. If we consider the value of stud stock, loss of animal by-products and loss of future breeding potential, the financial impact on primary producers within NSW could realistically be over $60m*.
NSW Police Force’s Corporate Sponsor for Rural Crime, Acting Assistant Commissioner Brett Greentree, says it is important to work together to protect farmers.
“Rural crime has no borders and police across Australia are working together to protect the livelihood of our farmers against offenders who target them,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Greentree said.
“Our farmers have already suffered natural disasters such as drought, bushfires and floods and we will not accept people stealing from them or making them feel vulnerable in their own home. We urge you to call Crime Stoppers or your local police with any information.”
The theft and poaching of oysters and rock lobster, and the illegal harvest and trade of abalone, is having a detrimental effect on the industry, threatening the future of legitimate seafood businesses and retailers. It also affects marine resources, tourism and business and can lead to a higher risk of contamination if not processed in accordance with safe food handling practices.
Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter APM, Commander of the Police Transport and Public Safety Command said crime in the marine space is also leading to an even greater risk to the wider community.
“In many cases, the fabric and economic stability of a country community is associated with its local marine environment. The waterways are kind to us, they sustain us, and they give us food, but it all must be done legally and with diligence to the environment,” Assistant Commissioner Cotter said.
“Those breaking the law and fishing without legitimacy or licences are committing criminal acts. It is up to all of us – the community, and the police – to work together, report and disrupt this crime, and ensure the future of the waterways and the prosperity and culture of the community.”
The newly-launched community awareness campaign will run state-wide for a 12-month period. Crime Stoppers will be visiting regional communities to engage with communities in an effort to help reduce crime and increase reporting.
Crime in regional areas is not new; however, it continues to be a growing area of concern for the whole of NSW, not just the farming community and therefore it needs a whole of community approach.
• You can help by reporting anything suspicious, strange, or concerning.
• Any piece of information, anything you have seen or heard, may be crucial in preventing or solving a crime.
• Call or click Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000/ nsw.crimestoppers.com.au
• For a crime in progress call Triple Zero (000). Save Triple Zero for Emergencies (000)
*Source: NSW Farmers Survey, data analysis February 2021, Centre for Rural Criminology, University of New England.’