Residents in rural communities are being reminded to vigilant in securing all farm buildings and homes to protect vehicles, machinery, farm equipment, firearms and household contents from being stolen.
The call comes as seasonal and working conditions change with the increase in hours of daylight and farmers becoming tied up with calving, lambing and milking.
“This is an opportune time for criminals to take advantage of any lapse in security on rural farms,” says NZ Police Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley.
“We would like to remind the community to be vigilant and look out for one another.
“Please look out for your neighbours and your community, and let Police know if anything or anyone looks out of place. We need the public to help us by being our eyes and ears.”
“Note down registration numbers of suspicious vehicles and descriptions of suspicious people, and let us know.
Cynthia says burglar alarms and security cameras attached monitoring buildings or vehicles can deter potential thieves and also “help Police identify criminals”.
She also reminds the rural community keep all buildings and vehicles secure, including farm buildings and machinery, is key.
“Keep in contact with your neighbours too and let each other know if you notice anything unusual.
“Neighbourhood Support groups can be particularly useful for this purpose.
“Importantly, we ask residents to not put themselves in danger or take the law into their own hands if confronted by offenders – but to instead contact Police.”
Home security tips
Ensure your house and garages are a hard target for thieves – with alarms and sensor lighting. Lock valuable items away and lock your houses. Photograph and register the details and serial numbers of important items in your home. You can register these on: www.snap.org.nz And be wary of posting too much information on social media about holiday or travel plans.
Remove keys and lock vehicles when not in use – and do not leave valuable items or equipment in vehicles overnight
Keep tools secure
Quad bikes, trailers and tools such as chainsaws are expensive to replace, so reduce theft by taking extra security measures, says Cynthia.
“Remove keys from unattended vehicles, secure the quad bike with a padlock or anchor and chain the bike. And mark or engrave tools with your driver’s licence number.”
Firearms and fuel
Cynthia says firearm ownership and licensing comes with a responsibility for safety “not only when out hunting but at home as well”.
“Do not leave firearms in vehicles and make sure you record serial numbers of each firearm.”
Also ensure fuel tanks are secure and locked to restrict theft and tampering, says Cynthia, who recommends installing security lighting in the area.
For more useful advice, see the NZ Police Rural Crime Prevention website at: www.police.govt.nz/rural.
If you see a crime taking place, call 111 immediately. Report any suspicious activity to Police.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.