A SENIOR Tasmanian police commander has backed a plan by the state's peak agricultural body to survey its members on rural crime.
Western District police commander Lachie Avery said while rural crime throughout the state was currently stable, the survey would be useful.
"It would be very interesting to see – obviously, we encourage farmers to report rural crime, as it could be a key to a pattern," Mr Avery said.
He said it was imperative for farmer and graziers to report crime, no matter how insignificant it seemed.
"If we are not in the game, we can't investigate it – we want to know, so we can investigate these crimes," Mr Avery said.
Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) presidentWayne Johnston said he had recently met with Police Minister Rene Hidding, a senior regional police officer and local Meander Valley councillor.
"The Minister stated rural crime was as important and significant as those crimes committed in urban environments," Mr Johnston said.
"The TFGA has been concerned for some time about the rising crime within rural communities and the seeming disregard for the law and private property.
"Rural crime poses unique problems and additional strategies will need to be developed."
He said the TFGA would survey its members about their experiences, in the next few months.
"We want to try and collate some information, if people have had a theft or break in, have they reported it and if not – why not?" Mr Johnston said.
"We are doing the best we can to help – policing numbers are not where we would want them to be – the state being in the financial situation it is in – but we can't always have what we want."
Mr Johnston said he had been the victim of a theft himself, about a month ago, when a quad bike was stolen.
He said when he mentioned it to other farmers, they also reported they had experienced theft or trespass.
Mr Johnston said thefts included livestock, small items like chainsaws and quad bikes.
"Policing works on incidents and reports, so if you have an area where there are hardly any reports or incidents occurring, you won't get police resources," he said.
"If things are not getting reported, how the heck are they going to know what is going on?"
Mr Johnston said members sometimes felt an incident was not relevant enough, or serious enough, to bother the police about.
He said the TFGA would now meet with senior police regularly, to discuss rural crime.
The organisation also suggests farmers and graziers install CCTV cameras, to deter criminals.
Mr Avery said he was confident farmers would report more serious crime, such as stealing.
"From a Western District perspective, we have as good, if not better, results as the rest of the state; we have a fairly good clearance rate for that sort of thing," Mr Avery said.