Smart ways to tackle the rise in rural crime

RURAL crime, such as vehicle and livestock theft, is on the rise.

Figures from the NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report 2020, reveal that rural crime cost the UK £54.3m in 2019, the highest it has been in the last eight years, and an increase of nine per cent from the previous year.

Figures from 2019 show that agricultural vehicle theft is up by £1.9m to a total of £9.3m, livestock theft is up by £200,000, to a total of £3m, and smaller, more portable equipment such as ATVs is up by £500,000 to £3.1m.

During the coronavirus pandemic, more and more dog owners have been tempted to use farmland for isolation walks, which has seen an increase in dog attacks on livestock. Livestock worth £1.2m were attacked by dogs in 2019, an increase of 15per cent in England.

With the rise in rural crime over the past twelve months, farm security firm, StockCam, has seen an unprecedented increase in enquiries.

The summer period would normally be a quiet time for the installation of farm security systems, however, the firm has been installing security cameras for farmers across the country throughout the year.

To improve security and safety, farmers need to identify the opportunities for thefts on their farm, such as what entrances and exits there are, whether buildings are locked appropriately and whether any vehicles are in sight or stored in an unsecure area.

There are a range of solutions available using CCTV and cameras. These are no longer only standard motion detection systems, some of the smart features of cameras can include intrusion detection; line crossing; object removal; notifications to smartphone, tablet and TV; number plate recognition; and face recognition.

The intrusion detection function detects people, vehicles or other objects that enter and loiter in a pre-defined virtual area visible on the camera, and an alarm is triggered such as a notification to a smartphone.

This is useful for detecting if a person or a vehicle enters a farm yard or building. Line crossing is the detection of people, vehicles or other objects crossing a virtual line on the camera, for example, someone walking through a gate.

Object removal is one of the features StockCam has set up for many farmers, where a virtual box is drawn around a tractor, ATV, pickup or other machinery, and if there is motion detected in the virtual box, such as the machinery being moved or a person approaching the machinery then a notification is sent to a smartphone, or an audible warning to a network video recorder in the farm house.

Number plate recognition cameras are now more affordable, these cameras can detect vehicles entering and exiting a farm and the system can send a notification to a smartphone.

All of these cameras allow farmers to remotely monitor footage live from their smartphone, from anywhere in the world.

Even when the farm buildings are a distance from the farm house, wireless networking technology has improved so much that it allows farmers to beam the video from a camera miles away to a central location for recording and monitoring purposes. This is so much more cost-effective than running cables.

The cameras installed all have viewing available on Smart Phones and tablets meaning farmers can be reassured that they will be able to be at the mart and keep an eye on their property and livestock.