What you should know about the rise of rural crime

Rural crime is on the increase in New Zealand with regional New Zealand reporting an increase in thefts from orchards, rural businesses and farms. According to FMG Advice and Insurance (2021), quad bikes, chainsaws, tools, parts, fuel, and firearms are the most commonly stolen items from the farm. While a Federated Farmers survey (2021), indicated over half of New Zealand farmers have been the victim of crime on their farms in the last two years.  Rural crime is up by 10% since the last Federated Farmers survey with 71.4% of victims saying they had been hit two or more times, while stock theft affected one in four New Zealand farmers, costing an estimated $120 million per year in lost income to the rural community.

At Farm Technology we decided to get out and talk to rural Cantabrians about crime in their areas. What we found was a commonality between what local people are feeling and experiencing, and what other regions are saying. 

From the people we spoke to:  

  • All had experience of suspicious behaviour. 
  • All knew of crime victims in their neighbourhood. 
  • All were concerned about crime.
  •  All had the feeling, if it hasn’t happened yet, it would eventually.
  •  Overall perception was that it was a big problem that occurs in cycles with some periods in the year being worse than others.

Rural New Zealand should not be a place where people feel unsafe. Criminal Psychologist and Chief Security Officer at Farm Technology Matt Wood says, thieves target wealth and weakness.

To help you avoid possible weak spots, here are seven things to keep your property safe and deter crime:

  1. Get to know your neighbours and share phone numbers.
  2. Helping to keep an eye on each other will help prevent crime in your neighbourhood.
  3. If you can lock it, lock it!  Gates, vehicles, petrol tanks, sheds, outbuildings doors and windows, and make sure your firearms are secured.
  4. Keep valuables out of plain sight. Don’t leave valuables lying around to tempt thieves.
  5. Report it!  Report all incidents or thefts, even if you just suspect there has been an incident.  Stock loss may be hard to detect, it is better that the local police and your neighbours are aware of a possible problem than turning a blind eye to it.
  6. Make sure perimeter fences are in good order and gates are locked.
  7.  Cut back overgrown foliage to increase visibility.
  8.  Get a security system installed to help deter crime and catch the offenders in the act.

 To find out more about how you can protect your farm head to FMG’s rural theft guide.