Nearly 700 farms across Australia were affected by theft and burglary in the past year, according to WFI Insurance claims data — prompting the insurer to urge people to keep their properties safe and valuables protected.
The data showed some of the most common items stolen from farm sheds were power tools, chainsaws, motorbikes and quad bikes.
The most commonly stolen items from homes on farms included personal items such as jewellery and watches, cash, mobile phones and devices, along with keys to vehicles — often resulting in the vehicles also being stolen.
Livestock were also exposed to theft, with WFI claims data showing more than 4000 animals were reported stolen in the past year including sheep, lambs and cattle.
“It’s easy to become complacent when it comes to farm security,” WFI Insurance spokesperson Andrew Beer said.
“Sometimes it’s just more convenient to leave the ute keys in the ignition when it’s parked in the shed or leave the front door unlocked when you’re off down the paddock.
“Theft from farms is actually a big problem, but there are steps that people can take to reduce their risk and protect their property.”
To keep properties safe, the team from WFI has provided the following tips:
¦ No-one home?
If you’re away for the day, ensure your home is properly secured, including making sure all windows and doors are locked.
If you are going to be away for an extended time like holidays, arrange for someone to regularly check on it.
Even if this might not stop opportunistic theft, it does mean you’re able to get the police involved at the earliest possible time in the hope they can catch those responsible.
¦ Keep an inventory.
Know what you own. Keep a complete list of all your tools, machinery and equipment in a safe place.
Write down serial numbers and take photographs.
It will help police track down the items and help with your insurance claim if the items can’t be returned.
¦ Be insured.
This seems obvious, but it’s all too easy to be under-insured — and you might not notice until it’s too late.
Review your insurance policy to make sure you have enough coverage so that everything is included.
¦ Keep your keys safe.
Don’t leave keys in vehicles, no matter how convenient it might seem.
Install a secure key cabinet in a suitable location and keep it locked.
¦ Lock up your fuel.
Fuel is an expensive resource and is among the top items stolen from farms.
Keep your fuel under lock and key in a location well away from a public road and where you can monitor it.
¦ Lock up your valuables.
Tools, machinery and larger pieces of equipment like air compressors, pumps and generators are all prime targets for theft. Include them on your inventory.
And, most importantly, lock your sheds and toolboxes where you keep these items.
¦ Make items traceable.
Engrave items so they are easily identified and hard to sell on.
Or install GPS trackers on them so they can be located if they are stolen.