POLICE have today launched a new rural safety and security campaign aimed at targeting one of the most under-reported types of crime in the state - farm crime.
The 'We're In It Together' rural safety and security program was launched at Miners Rest this morning with a particular focus on farm crime, including the theft of livestock and tools often left in unlocked sheds on remote properties.
Acting Superintendent Dan Davison said farms and rural properties were often the easiest target for criminals due to remote locations and the reluctance of farmers to lock doors on the properties and then report incidents.
"Farm crime is under-reported across the state and in our local areas, and the key to solving crime in these rural areas is working with the community," Acting Superintendent Davison said.
"Everyone has a part to play in solving rural crime; we want to hear from anyone in the community about crime, if you see something, you should say something.
"We are in it together and our local police stations are open for business.
"We are urging anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it immediately."
Tips to protect your property include engraving or marking tools, speaking to neighbours when you are away and even the simple display of crime prevention signs such as Neighbourhood Watch can help.
The campaign comes just weeks after Victoria Police announced it would strengthen its resources with the creation of a new unit to tackle farm-related crime.
The focus of the Farm Crime Coordination Unit will be to monitor trends in farm-related crimes to solve more cases, with one key role to mitigate animal rights activism including trespassing on farms, production plants, abattoirs and stock yards as well as demonstrations and blockades.
Victoria Police has previously established agricultural liaison officer roles in 2011 to address the increasing livestock thefts and farm-related crime.
There are currently 71 farm crime liaison officers across the state.
Although police say farm crime continues to be under-reported, more than $1.6 million worth of livestock has been stolen from farms across Victoria in the past year.
On top of livestock theft, 3500 other recorded offences in the year until March 2019 include the theft of firearms, ammunition, power tools, diesel, farm equipment, pumps and trailers.
- If you're a victim of rural crime, call the Police Assistance Line on 131444.