Farm & Rural
July 30, 2023
Crime Prevention
How to protect your farm from crime

How to protect your farm from crime

If you live or work on a farm, keeping sheds, gates, tanks and storage areas locked with heavy duty padlocks, cables and chains can help you protect your property from thieves.

Farms are relatively easy targets for thieves because they’re often isolated and easy to access. By being vigilant about security, and taking some simple steps, you can help making it a lot harder for thieves to enter your farm and steal your machinery, fuel or livestock or equipment.

Keep sheds locked

  • Try to position sheds where they can be seen from your house. 
  • Build them from strong materials with heavy duty roller doors or metal gates and good quality padlocks. 
  • Consider installing sensor lights and security alarms.

Fencing and gates

  • Regularly check your boundary fences to ensure they’re in good condition. 
  • Gates should be strong, mounted securely to corner posts and locked with heavy duty chains and padlocks.

Protect your fuel

  • Lock your fuel tank with a strong padlock, ideally at the cut-off valve. 
  • When you’re not using the tank, close and lock the valves and switch off the pump. 
  • Place your tanks where they can’t be seen from the road. 
  • Consider installing underground tanks if you don’t already have them.

Secure your firearms

  • Make sure your firearms are registered and you hold the appropriate licene
  • Secure your firearms in locked cabinets that meet legal requirements.
  • Lock up ammunition and magazines separately. 
  • Don’t leave firearms unattended or in unlocked vehicles
  • Don’t store the keys to your gun safe in spots that are easy to access.
  • If a property is unoccupied or rarely visited, or you’re going to be away for a long period, consider storing your guns with a firearms dealer or trusted licence holder.

Deter trespassers

  • Place “no trespassing” and “private property” signs at entries to your property, along boundary fences and access roads to paddocks. 
  • Put up signs warning that equipment is marked and the property has alarms and security cameras.

Keep good stock records

  • Keep accurate records of all your livestock, including ID, numbers, purchases, sales, births and deaths. 
  • Take photos and videos of your livestock to help identify them if they’re stolen.
  • Make sure National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) tags are correct and up-to-date and tag animals when they’re young – don’t wait until sale time. 
  • Keep receipts of any purchases so you can prove ownership.

Keep an eye on your stock

  • Check your stock regularly – especially those you can’t see them from the house. Count and recount them
  • Check the gates and fences where stock are grazing as often as you can – to make sure they’re keeping your stock in and thieves out. 
  • Keep gates closed and locked. 
  • Remember – no matter how small your loss, always report livestock theft.
  • Keep track of any agisted stock and their markings.

Position stockyards carefully

  • Position loading ramps and stockyards where they can’t be seen from the road.
  • When they’re not being used, keep them locked and stored separately, if possible.

Secure grain, produce and hay

  • Never leave storage bins or loaded trucks unlocked or unattended during harvest
  • Make sure augers and other loading equipment can’t be used when you’re not around.
  • If possible, store hay bales in lockable sheds or an open shed within view of the house, rather then out in the paddock. 

Safely store chemicals

  • Ensure chemicals and fertilisers are stored in their original containers and secure them in a locked shed.

Safeguard your machinery, tools and equipment

  • Store machinery in a locked shed. If that’s not possible, group it together outside and ensure it can be seen from your house.
  • Keep all machinery locked when you’re not using it, including cab doors; remove the keys and keep them with you. 
  • If machinery needs to be left onsite in paddocks overnight, put it where you can see it from your house – or a neighbours’ place – if you can.
  • Consider disabling unattended machinery by removing the battery or distributor cap.
  • Keep an inventory with a description, a record of serial, chassis and model numbers and a photo or video. Keep invoices and receipts to help with identification.
  • Engrave or mark your equipment with a “V” for Victoria, followed by your driver’s licence number. Options to mark property include hard etching, welding, painting, metal punching, chemical marking or microdot technology.
  • Store any valuable equipment that can be quickly and easily loaded onto a ute, such as power tools, generators, fencing materials and motorbikes, in a locked shed.
  • Lock away your tools to prevent thieves being able to use them to force open locked sheds, gun safes other storage areas.
  • Use lockable fuel caps on machinery to prevent fuel thefts. 

Report farm crime

Many farmers don’t report thefts from their property because think police can’t do much about it.  

If you become aware that you’ve had any livestock, fuel or farm equipment stolen, it’s important to call police immediately to report it. The sooner you reporter it, the better the chance they can catch the offender. 

And who knows, your report might provide the final piece of information needed for an investigating officer to solve and complete wider-spread investigation and charge a thief.

Victoria Police has dedicated Farm Crime Liaison Officers across the state who have expert skills in investigating livestock theft and farm related crime.

To report non-urgent farm crime, call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 or submit an online report.

Get Police Assistance

For all emergencies and immediate Police assistance
Call: 000
To report non-urgent crimes or events 24 hours a day
Call: 131 444
To report information about a crime contact Crime Stoppers on
1800 333 000

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