In September 2015 the BBC reported on the staggering cost of rural crime in England and Wales. The article looked at a National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) survey that revealed rural crime cost England and Wales over £800million in 2014 – with the average cost per crime for businesses being £4,000.
Crime covered in the survey included everything from livestock and machinery theft through to vandalism. And the NRCN survey isn’t the only industry survey that confirms a real problem with rural crime.
NFU Mutual produces an annual report looking at rural crime across the UK. Although their 2015 report showed a slight decrease in the overall cost of rural theft, it highlighted that the impact was still huge for counties such as Cambridgeshire, where rural crime cost £2.7million in 2014. You can read the report in full here.
In Farmers Weekly, there are often stories about individual crimes and the impact they have on agriculture and business. For example, this story about a gang’s conspiracy to conduct a power tool raid, or this one that states one in four farms were hit by crime in 2014. This article tells of recent fuel thefts across UK farms and warns businesses to up security as the longer nights draw in.
Clearly there is an ongoing battle with rural crime and it got us thinking – how can security professionals help?
Offer expert advice
Offering the right, expert advice on what type of security system to install is of course a prerequisite for any security professional. With the above facts on rural crime being quite startling, it’s even more important that all the security weak spots and high-risk areas are properly identified.
When it comes to helping an agricultural or rural business combat crime, it’s critical that you really assess the potential risks, understand what sort of threats they may face in that area and have a confident knowledge of what kind of solutions can make a real difference.
For example, for many agricultural businesses theft or vandalism can disrupt work for weeks – even months. That means that unmonitored CCTV is simply often not the best answer. CCTV may still capture footage of a criminal act, beneficial as use in evidence or for insurance purposes. However, it won’t proactively put a stop to the crime.
With remote monitoring in place, on the other hand, if unusual activity is detected then operators can act swiftly to notify the relevant parties and emergency services. They will be able to analyse live footage to assess if there is a risk to the site and increase the efficiency of security systems.
By making decisions like recommending remote monitoring security professionals can help business owners and farmers to reduce the impact rural crime has on them.
Think outside the box to create a truly effective security system
Different sectors require different security measures – we all know that the risks that a construction site might face are different from those a petrol station faces on a day-to-day basis. Beyond even sectors, every site is going to be different.
As a result it often takes a little imagination for security professionals to think up the best solution. For example, in this incident the installer recognised the need for monitored CCTV alongside a strategically placed intruder alarm.
It’s no different when it comes to farm and agricultural business security. Each rural location is different and faces different threats. A solar energy farm, for example, may require extensive perimeter fencing, monitored CCTV and the security measures should be made a priority from the word ‘go’ – before panels are installed.
Fuel theft can often also be a big problem for farms. Not only can you protect secure areas with CCTV but you could also install monitors, monitored by an external central station, that raise an alarm when fuel levels drop rapidly or outside of working hours.
Ensure the benefits are cost-effective
Of course, as with any installation, every security measure has to be cost-effective. It’s common for clients to see security as a grudge purchase – often one that they make only after they’ve experienced an incident of theft or simply to keep insurers happy.
In fact, effective security measures could save them thousands in the long run through preventing criminal damage and disrupting work. By looking at security from this angle, we can see why the right measures really are cost-effective.
How else do you think security professionals can help to reduce rural crime? Do we need to educate customers more effectively or is it more about recommending the right security solutions?