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Tips for Rural Crime Prevention

Don’t let down your guard because you live in the country. Rural communities have their own unique crime problems; like theft of crops, timber, livestock and expensive farm equipment. Vandals do more than break mailboxes: they can destroy crops and fields. Alcohol and drug abuse problems plague rural youth as well as those in the suburbs and cities. And of course, crimes like burglary and auto theft happen just as frequently in rural areas, so invest some time and money in prevention now.

What’s the payoff? Better security around your property, less worry about crime and your family’s safety. Be a good neighbor and keep an eye on your neighbor’s homes, livestock and equipment. Tell them and the police about any activities which make you uneasy or suspicious.

Check the Doors and Locks

  • Make sure external doors on homes and outbuildings are solid wood or metal and have deadbolt locks
  • Use the locks
  • Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available locks or a dowel in the track to jam the door
  • Insert screws in upper track of sliding doors and windows to prevent lifting panes from the track
  • Secure basement windows as well

Check the Outside

  • Install bright outside lights and keep them on at night
  • Keep house driveway and other buildings well lit
  • Use timers that will turn them on at night
  • Consider Motion sensors that set off lights or alarms
  • Prune shrubbery that hide doors, windows and lights
  • Keep fences in good repair
  • Secure all access roads with gates or cables (stretched between cement-embedded poles)
  • Post no trespassing, no hunting, etc. signs on and around your property

Protect Equipment and Livestock

  • Participate in Operation Identification (marking tools, equipment and machines with identifying numbers)
  • Work with law enforcement to determine good prevention methods and encourage community wide use
  • Tattoo all livestock (usually on ears) soon after birth
  • Take regular counts of livestock
  • Secure gas pumps and tanks, storage bins, grain elevators, etc. with padlocks or deadbolts
  • Keep small equipment (mowers, bikes , snowmobiles, etc.) locked in a barn or garage
  • Keep guns locked and unloaded in a secure place away from children
  • Never leave keys in vehicles or farm equipment
  • Lock trunks and other vehicles when not in use
  • Don’t leave tools in plain sight inside a vehicle or in an unsecured truck bed toolbox
  • Don’t leave major equipment in a field over night

Guard your Crops

  • Store harvested crops in protected and locked locations
  • Consider making grain, hay or similar crops with non-toxic confetti that is easily removed by storage or processing facilities
  • Keep a record of valuable timber and materials
  • Keep storage areas neat and well organized so that theft is noticed immediately
  • Check employees’ references before they start and inform them of your crime prevention measures

Help Your Neighbors

  • Start or participate in a Neighborhood Farm Watch Program
  • When you leave on business or pleasure, stop mail/paper delivery or have a neighbor retrieve them daily