Preventing and detecting crime can be harder in rural areas. This is due to there often being fewer witnesses to rural crimes and greater opportunities for criminals to target isolated properties and businesses. The impact of these crimes can also be greater, with people feeling more vulnerable due to their remote location.
There are many ways you can protect yourself from being a victim of rural crime:
To protect your rural home or business:
- keep the boundaries of your land and property well-maintained and secure
- keep all doors and windows shut and locked when not in use
- install a visible burglar alarm
- make sure windows and door frames are secure and in good repair
- fit strong locks to sheds, garages and outbuildings
- fit good quality window locks
- consider security bars and grilles for vulnerable windows and openings
- make sure gates cannot be lifted off or have their fixing bolts removed
- check security equipment regularly to ensure it works properly
- use locking posts or temporary obstructions to control wide access points to yards
For additional security you could also:
- install automatic security lights that come on at dusk and turn off at dawn
- install CCTV cameras to watch over the most vulnerable areas of the property
- install a monitored intruder alarm system
- install an entry control system infrared, intercom or keypad
- establish a single gated entrance and exit, removing all private access points that are not in use
Ensure all machinery, tools, horse tack are clearly marked. Once you have marked your property it is best to record the details on an inventory form.
You can put any kind of mark on your property to distinguish it as yours. It is recommended that your postcode is used, prefixed with the number of your address, i.e. 23 LE1 1QA. A postcode is unique to your property and allows the goods to be identified and returned to you. However, just putting a name or a symbol on the property makes it identifiable, but does not provide details of who the property belongs to. Keep hold of receipts and paperwork relating to serial numbers.
If you decide to sell on your item or dispose of it, remember to add two 'X' marks before and after your postcode e.g. X 23 LE1 1QA X. This indicates that the property is no longer yours. Advertising that your property has been security marked is a good way of deterring thieves.
Take photographs of your valuables and record details such as serial numbers for insurance purposes. Property marking sends out a powerful warning to any thieves and burglars operating in your area and will hopefully make them think twice. If any property is stolen and located it can be positively identified and returned to its rightful owner. Marking property will also help prove the goods were stolen and help assist in a prosecution.
Ways to Mark:
Permanent - for heavy duty goods like power or garden tools. Engraving and punching identifies your property for good. Kits for the job can be bought from DIY shops and ironmongers or you could improvise by scratching your postcode and house number on but be extra careful. CRE MARK is a visible security coding which uses your postcode and the house number or first two letters of your house name which makes the item identifiable and traceable. This marking is then made permanent by coating the markings with CRE MARKs specially formulated protective lacquer. Your local Neighbourhood Policing Team are able to CRE MARK small farming machinery, please contact the Police on 101 to arrange.
Invisible - for property that would be damaged or devalued by engraving or punching. Ultra-violet (UV) markers are invisible to the naked eye but the police can check recovered property for UV marking with a UV lamp. It's important to remember that UV marking fades over time and will need to be renewed every so often. Please contact the Community Safety Team for a UV pen- firstname.lastname@example.org or 01494 586535
Forensic - for all valuable items. A colourless liquid solution can be applied to your valuable items, including electrical items and even vehicles. Kits have a chemical 'code' in the liquid which is unique to your items. The solution glows under UV light. applied to valuables in the home. If items are stolen in the future it enables us to identify the owners of the property and may even assist with convicting criminals.
Please see the following sites for products available:
Construction & Agricultural Equipment Security and Registration Scheme
Tracker and data tagging - consider fitting a tracking device or a data tagging chip. Your insurance company can provide advice on suitable products. The CESAR Scheme is an equipment and registration scheme to the construction and agricultural industry. A machine registered with CESAR is fitted with a number of tamper-evident registration stickers and with its own unique identification and registration number.
Reporting Rural Crime
Always report any suspicious incidents to Thames Valley Police via 101 non emergency, or call 999 if a crime is in progress.