Crime is relatively rare and particularly so for people living in rural areas.
However, it makes sense to take steps which will protect your family and property and give you peace of mind.
Protect your home
Those in the countryside can be pleased that average crime rates are lower in rural areas. This might explain why these households are less likely to have basic security than their urban counterparts. These simple steps are just some of the things you might consider when dealing with security:
- Lock all doors and windows when you leave the house, including when you’re out in the garden.
- Keep house and car keys out of sight as thieves can use devices to hook nearby keys through letterboxes.
- Install a burglar alarm which includes a box on the outside wall in a prominent position.
- Ensure the outside of your home is well lit and install security lighting.
- Keep fences in good condition.
- Keep ladders and tools stored away; don't leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home.
- Mark your property with postcode and house name/number.
- Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
- Store any high value items in a properly secured safe or bank vault.
- Doors can be reinforced by fitting a bar for extra strength
- Consider replacing glass panels on doors with laminated glass, which is stronger. Alternatively, you can also buy clear film which is stuck over the glass making it harder to break.
- Get to know your neighbours – if you have trusted relationships you are more likely to agree to keep an eye on each other’s properties.
Protect your farm
Farms can offer an attractive target for thieves on the look-out for expensive machinery and equipment as well as the sort of valuables found in any home. Some ideas to secure your farm include:
- Restrict access to your land and property with locked gates, using British Standard locks and high security closed-shackle padlocks.
- Keep gates to farm yards closed whenever possible – criminals see unrestricted access as an invitation to enter.
- A combination of good outside security lighting, CCTV and intruder alarms will deter most thieves but make sure they are regularly checked to ensure they will work when you need them.
- Lock your windows and doors, and remove keys from the locks keeping them out of sight.
- Mark all valuable equipment, tools and other property with the name of your farm and the postcode – UV pens, engraving, stamping, tagging or forensic marking are all options to consider.
- Consider joining your local Farm Watch scheme and display security marker boards to show you have security.
- Where possible install fuel tanks within secure buildings or cage, keeping them locked and alarmed. Consider installing anti-siphon devices.
- Keep computers in well-secured buildings and change passwords on a monthly basis.
- Lay gravel rather than hard standing around farm buildings.
- Park larger vehicles in front of access doors to prevent easy access.
- Ensure you have adequate insurance cover.
Protect your tack room
Horse owners will know that the equipment and accessories they require can be expensive to replace. To keep your tack safe you should:
- Ensure the room is within a substantial brick or concrete block building. Wood constructed rooms and doors can be reinforced with steel plate or mesh.
- Use good quality mortice locks if possible, alternatively doors should be secured with heavy duty padlocks and pad bars.
- Fit windows with grilles or bars to prevent entry.
- Properly secure horse tack such as saddles and bridles to their racks and don’t leave them loose.
- Security mark your property – this acts as a deterrent to thieves and, if they are stolen, could also aid their recovery in future.
- Keep a photographic record of your possessions along with a list of all equipment including any identifying features or serial numbers.
Protect your vehicles
Cars, 4x4s, quad bikes, horse boxes and tractors are all targets for thieves operating in rural locations, so wherever possible you should:
- Keep vehicles in a lockable garage or building.
- Consider installing security lighting.
- Investigate options for anti theft devices, including alarms, immobilisers, vehicle trackers and security marking such as CESAR.
- Have the Vehicle Identification Number etched on windows.
- Record machinery serial numbers and photographs for reference – a picture of the stolen vehicle will increase publicity prospects and recovery.
- Lock vehicles and keep the keys in a secure location and out of view, not hidden on the vehicle and out of view.
- Physically secure your ATV using suitable locking devices and to a fixed point on the ground using heavy duty security chain and padlocks.
- When selling your vehicle, check any buyer is genuine before giving your address details.
Protect your livestock
Steps to take which will make it harder for thieves targeting livestock include:
- Mark your animals using ear tags, horn-bands, freeze branding, hot branding or tattooing, and keep a photographic record.
- Take a regular count of your livestock.
- Install CCTV in barns or yards and keep gates locked.
- Use landscaping such as ditches, mounds and hedges to make vulnerable fields less easily accessible for vehicles. Installing bollards and removable cattle grids can also be effective.
- Installing remote gate alarms and hidden cameras can alert owners instantly if someone unauthorised is driving vehicles across their land.
Protect your hay and straw
- Secure area around the buildings where stores are kept and consider using intruder sensors, CCTV cameras and security lighting.
- Remove hay and straw from open fields.
- Cut the string of small-bale hay or straw to make it harder to walk off with.
- If possible wrap and mark bales of haylage, bedding and feed.
- Use lockable, metal feed bins to store bags of feed.
- Review insurance agreements to ensure you have the cover you need in place.