NSW Police focus on rural crime

RURAL property theft is a significant problem for the region’s farmers, NSW Farmers Association Bathurst branch president David McKay says.

On Monday, the NSW Police stepped up their support for the state’s farmers and highlighted the impact of rural crime.

Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie said rural crimes were serious offences and they can have a substantial impact on the livelihood of farmers.

“The theft of livestock, produce and equipment; illegal shooting, trespassing and other rural crimes can have a devastating effect on farmers, the community and the industry as a whole,” he said.

“We’ve found it continues to go unreported because victims often believe there’s no proof, it’s not serious enough to warrant police investigation, or they think nothing can be done.”

Assistant Commissioner McKechnie also spoke of the NSW Police Force’s network of specialist rural crime investigators who operate across the state to assist farmers in addressing rural crime.

Mr McKay said he was pleased police were stepping up efforts to target rural crime and said greater police presence was needed.

“We’ve had three break-ins along our street in the past month,” he said.

Mr McKay runs cattle on his Mid Western Highway property and said farmers were “soft targets”.

We’ve had three break-ins along out street in the past month.

NSW Farmers Association Bathurst branch president David McKay

“People are damaging property and stealing tools, they’re quick things they can sell,” he said. “They broke into my brother’s place and took tools valued at $1000.”

Mr McKay said thefts from sheds can often go unnoticed for months and by the time the crime is realised people can be reluctant to report it to police.

He said often people do not report thefts as the items were uninsured or they are concerned police may not catch the intruders.

“You can take steps to make it more secure, but people still break in,” Mr McKay said.

Assistant Commissioner McKechnie has called on people to report rural crime and for farmers to complete a Farm Security Assessment online or with the assistance of their local rural crime investigator or crime prevention officer.