Top farm security tips

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Rural crime costs millions of dollars every year, so the NSW Police Force has put together these handy tips for preventing the theft of livestock, produce and equipment, illegal shooting, trespassing and other crimes which could affect your livelihood and well-being.

 

Australian property name


RMB number/property name

  • RMB number and property name should be prominently displayed at the front of the property.
  • Consider painting the RMB number or global positioning system (GPS) reading on boundary fence posts to assist emergency services and others to locate the property in emergency situations.
 

 

Locked farm gate


Fences and gates

  • Fences define the property boundaries and restrict access to the property. Regularly check the condition of boundary fences and gates. Pay attention to slack wiring and investigate the cause. Repair damaged fences as soon as possible. Contact the police if the fences appear to have been deliberately cut or tampered with.
  • Mount gates at entrances to the property and other high-risk areas securely to strong posts, and lock with heavy-duty chains and padlocks when not in use.
  • Gates should be engraved or permanently marked with a piece of information that is unique to you.
  • Fencing materials should be securely locked away when not in use.
 

 

No trespassing sign


Warning signs

  • Warning signs should be displayed on perimeter fence lines and gates to clearly indicate the boundaries of your property to illegal hunters/shooters, intruders and others. Signs such as ‘Private Property, No Trespassing’, ‘Please Shut the Gate, No Trespassing’ and ‘No Hunting without Permission’ may assist in the prosecution of trespassers if detected.
  • Consider displaying warning signs on internal gates and other structures such as sheds within your property, for example "Beware of the Dog" and "Monitored by Security Alarms". Be careful using warning signs that suggest a security response that does not exist as thieves often look for cues to confirm if these really do exist.
 

 

Australian farmhouse


Landscaping

  • Trees and shrubs around the homestead and sheds should be trimmed to reduce hiding places and to increase visibility to and from the main residence.
  • Overhanging branches should be trimmed to prevent people using them to access other parts of the homestead. For example, using a tree to get on the roof or an upper level of the homestead.
 

 

Security light with sensor


Lighting

  • Security lighting should be installed around the homestead and sheds.
  • Consider installing sensor style lights, which activate automatically when movement is detected within range.
  • Consider using light timers to automatically turn lights on/off when not at home.
 

 

Locked power board


Power board and letterbox

  • The power board should be housed within a secure, solidly made cabinet to restrict tampering with the power supply.
  • The cabinet should be secured with a lockset approved by your electricity authority.
  • The mailbox should be of solid construction and secured with an approved lock to restrict unauthorised access and theft.
 

 

Alarm system keyboard


Intruder alarm system

  • An alarm system may enhance the security of the homestead. Research has shown that monitored alarm systems are more effective as they alert you or your security company of intruders. The alarm system should be manufactured and installed to Australian Standard (AS 2001).
  • The system should be designed to provide maximum coverage of the home, garage and storage facilities.
  • Remember to regularly check the battery and test the system.
 

 

Peephole in door


Doors

  • External doors and frames should be of solid construction. These doors should be fitted with quality locksets, which comply with the Building Code of Australia (Fire Regulations) and Australian Standard (AS 4145).
  • Consider having a peephole (door viewer) installed in the front door of your home to monitor people at the door.
  • Keys should be removed from locks to prevent intruders entering or leaving the home.
  • Consider installing metal security/screen doors. These should be designed and installed to Australian Standard (AS 5039).
  • Consider installing patio bolts on sliding doors.
  • Access points under the homestead should be secured.
 

 

Locking window


Windows

  • External windows and frames should be of solid construction.
  • Window frames should be anchored to the building to prevent easy removal.
  • Windows should be fitted with quality locksets and kept locked when not in use.
  • Some styles of windows can be locked in a partially open position. Further advice on these items can be obtained from your insurance company or locksmith.
  • Skylights should be kept locked, particularly at night.
  • Glass doors and windows should be re-enforced to restrict unauthorised access via these areas. The existing glass can be re-enforced internally with a shatter resistant adhesive film or replaced with laminated glass.
  • Consider installing metal security grilles or shutters on windows. (Caution: These can trap occupants in an emergency such as a fire if not properly installed.)
 

 

Opening a safe


Control of valuables

  • Where possible, secure computers to desk surfaces and permanently mark or engrave the hardware with an identification number unique to you. Back up files on discs and protect these from theft, fire, flood or PC failure by storing in a secure location.
  • Spare keys should not be hidden outside the home but left with trusted friends or neighbours.
  • Keys should not be left in locks or in view, as thieves may use them to gain entry to your homestead, sheds or vehicles.
  • Try to limit the amount of cash kept at home as it is often targeted by thieves and is often not covered by insurance.
  • Jewellery, cash and other valuables should not be left out in plain sight.
  • Consider installing a safe to securely store jewellery, cash and other valuable documents.
  • The safe should be well concealed, fixed to the floor or embedded in foundations.
  • The safe should not be left open for convenience. The key to the safe should be stored out of sight in a separate room.
  • Try to avoid leaving the property unattended at the same times and on the same days each week.
  • Cancel deliveries while away.
  • Notify Police, trusted friends and neighbours as to where you may be contacted during your absence.
 

 

Cordless telephone


Telephones

  • Pre-program the speed dial function of your telephone with the emergency number Triple Zero (000).
  • Details of emergency telephone numbers such as the local rural fire service, police station and Crime Stoppers should be kept close to the phone.
 

 

Property identification


Property identification

  • Personal, household and farm valuables should be engraved or permanently marked with your driver’s licence number, Property Identification Code (PIC) or other piece of information that is unique to you. You should also mark a neat line through the engraving to show that it is no longer valid, when you sell your property.
  • Consider marking items that cannot be engraved with an ultraviolet pen. (This marking is only visible under ultraviolet light.)
  • Keep a detailed inventory of all personal, household and farm valuables. This inventory should include complete descriptions of models, makes, serial numbers and replacement values.
  • Stud stock, machinery, jewellery, antiques and other collectables should be photographed and/or videoed to assist with identification.
  • Receipts should be kept to prove the legitimate purchase or sale of items.
  • Computerised inventories should be backed up and a hard copy kept in case the computer is damaged, lost or stolen.
  • The inventory, photographs and other documentation should be securely stored in a safe or safety deposit box.
  • Personal, household and farm valuables should be appropriately insured.
 

 

farm shed


Sheds and garages

  • Sheds, garages and other storage facilities should be built within sight of the homestead or a trusted neighbour’s home.
  • Sheds, garages and other storage facilities should be constructed from strong materials with heavy-duty roller doors, shutters or metal gates that can be locked when not in use.
  • Use good quality chains and padlocks to secure entrances and consider fitting additional locksets (such as hasps or staples) to the doors and windows.
  • Security lighting should be installed around sheds, garages and other storage facilities. Consider mounting timed spot or floodlights around the structures.
  • Tools, equipment and ladders should be locked away to prevent them from being stolen or used to gain access to the homestead, sheds, garages or other storage facilities.
  • Storage areas should be clean and well organised so that any theft is noticed as soon as possible.
 

 

keys in tractor


Machinery, tools and equipment

  • Farm machinery, tools and equipment, including any removable parts, should be engraved or permanently marked in at least two places. Ideally, use an engraver or welder to mark large items with some form of information that identifies you as the owner, and to ensure the marking can be recognised even if offenders attempt to grind it off.
  • Machinery, tools and other valuable farm equipment should be stored in the same secured area, preferably a locked shed or fenced enclosure that can padlocked.
  • At times it may be necessary to leave machinery out in the paddock. Position the equipment where it can be seen from the homestead and out of sight of public areas.
  • Equipment should be secured with heavy chains and case hardened locks (for example: chain and lock equipment to trees or other strongly anchored objects; chain wheels to axles; and chain steering wheels to frames).
  • Keys should be removed and cab doors locked.
  • Lockable fuel caps should be used to prevent theft or contamination of fuel.
  • Consider disabling the equipment by removing the distributor cap, battery or rotor.
  • When practical, remove hitches from trailers.
  • Tools or other equipment should not be left unsecured in the cab or tray of vehicles.
 

 

Australian shearing shed


Shearing sheds

  • Handpieces, combs & cutters, wool packs, stencils, earmark pliers, ear-tags, paint brands and other valuable experting equipment should be regularly accounted for and securely locked away when not in use.
  • Wool bales should be securely stored in a locked storage area.
  • Details such as model and serial numbers of all shearing shed experting equipment including grinders and wool presses should be recorded in an inventory of all farm equipment.
  • All external doors, windows and chutes should be designed so they can be locked, and the shed checked regularly.
  • Use a reputable shearing contractor and carrier.
 

 

hay shed


Grain, hay and seed

  • Grain, hay and seed should be stored in locked silos, bins or sheds.
  • Augers and other loading equipment should be padlocked when not in use.
  • Silos, bins and sheds should be well lit and visible from the homestead.
  • Full or partially loaded trucks should not be left standing in paddocks overnight, unless the vehicle has been rendered inoperable.
  • If possible, weigh loaded trucks before they leave the property, and follow the first load and a number of subsequent deliveries to the silo.
 

 

chemical containers


Dangerous substances

Each state has now enacted legislation to regulate the use, manufacture, transport, storage and handling of explosives, explosive precursors and other related dangerous goods, so you should contact the WorkCover authority in your state for advice on authorisations and storage standards for all hazardous materials including Security Sensitive Ammonium Nitrate (SSAN) and explosives.

As a guide:

  • SSAN should be stored in a physically secure place (locked or under constant surveillance), and there should be procedures in place to control access, secure control of keys and document the receiving and dispatching of SSAN.
  • Fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides should be stored in their original containers away from heat and exterior walls separate to animal health products, stock feed, fuel and private dwellings.
  • Dedicated storage areas should be kept locked to prevent unauthorised access.
  • Reduce the quantity of chemicals stored, and comply with the manufacturers’ specifications with regard to storage and usage times.
  • Maintain a full inventory of all chemicals kept on-farm including: the product name; manufacturers’ name; a description of the container/s; formulation type; quantities, expiry dates and values. (Keep invoices and receipts of all purchases.)
  • Permanently mark chemical containers with your name or other information unique to you.
  • Post warning signs on storage facilities identifying the class of dangerous goods.
  • Have personal protective equipment (goggles, gloves) readily available.
  • Report any loss, theft, attempted theft, sabotage or any other security incident to the police and WorkCover.
  • Notify police if someone tries to sell you agricultural chemicals at prices under the normal market value.
 

 

fuel tanks on farm


Fuel

  • Above-ground fuel storage tanks should be positioned in sight of the homestead and other storage sheds. Tanks should be concealed from view from the road, or alternatively, consider installing underground tanks.
  • Consider installing security lighting that illuminates the tank/s and surrounding area at night, and enclose the site with a security fence/gate that can be locked.
  • Fuel tanks should be dipped daily and a flow meter installed to monitor fuel usage.
  • The dispensing system including the pump outlets, nozzle, hose and valves should be locked when not in use.
  • The control switch to electronically controlled pumps should be located in a secure building and the electricity turned off when not in use. Also consider installing an isolation switch in a hidden spot to immobilise the circuit.
  • Mobile fuel tanks should only be filled when they are in use. Shield the hose and secure with a cable lock and case hardened short hasp to reduce siphoning or vandalism opportunities.
  • Fuel trailers should be parked away from the roadside when left unattended in a paddock during sowing or harvest. Trailer wheels should be clamped, and the body chained and padlocked to a large tree or other firmly anchored object.
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date records of fuel usage and purchases, including quantities, delivery dates and times.
  • Tanks, vehicles and machinery should be fitted with lockable fuel caps to deter access or contamination.
  • Post warning signs around fuel storage areas, and install appropriate fire suppression equipment (such as fire extinguishers).
  • Use a reputable fuel supplier and be present when deliveries are made.
  • Suspected fuel thefts should be reported to police.
 

 

water tanks on australian farm


Water

  • Tanks should be dipped regularly to monitor water usage. Use enclosed tanks to protect water from being contaminated, and lock taps and outlets to restrict unauthorised access to water.
  • Irrigation pumps should be bolted to a concrete floor and enclosed in a secure, ventilated structure such as a locked pump-house or welded steel cage.
  • Portable pumps should be chained to a tree or other fixed object.
 

 

australian stockyard


Stockyards and load ramps

  • Stockyard gates and loading ramps should be padlocked to prevent others from using them without permission.
  • Stockyards should be built in sight of the homestead and other storage sheds, rather than in remote locations or fronting onto roads or laneways.
 

 

dog and sheep


Livestock and dogs

  • All livestock should be marked with approved permanent identifiers such as earmarks, brands, tattoos and National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) devices upon receipt or as soon after birth as practicable. Contact the relevant breed society and Local Land Services (LLS) for advice on registering brands and earmarks.
  • Livestock identification devices (including tags, pliers and branding irons) should be securely locked away when not in use.
  • Missing NLIS devices should be reported to police as soon as possible.
  • Livestock should be regularly checked to ensure that suspected losses are recognised and reported to police as soon as possible.
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date records of individual stock identification numbers and stock totals including purchases, sales, deaths and rations.
  • Valuable stock should be photographed and/or videoed.
  • Stock should not be left in yards or holding paddocks adjacent to stockyards unless they are in sight of the homestead.
  • Stock handling facilities (yards and race) should be kept locked and regularly checked for signs of unexplained activity (damaged gates, fresh manure and hoof marks).
  • According to the University of New England’s Institute for Rural Futures, "dogs are aware, often before their owners, of the presence of strangers around the farm residence and nearby buildings". Regardless of whether dogs are kept as working animals or as pets, they may act as a deterrent to intruders. 
 

 

chainsaw and timber


Timber

  • Valuable trees should be identified and marked with paint.
  • Maintain a written or computerised record of valuable trees.
  • Inform neighbours when someone will be harvesting timber on the property.
  • Investigate unexplained chain saw noises.
 

 

For more crime-prevention tips go to www.police.nsw.gov.au

 

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