Crime Stoppers are again reminding everyone that they have the power to stop crime, this time with a focus on regional Victoria.
Crime Stoppers Victoria will launch its ‘Locals Get Vocal’ campaign in partnership with Victoria Police and the Victorian Farmers Federation at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days held near Horsham at 10am this Tuesday, 3 March 2020.
The campaign targets criminal activity on Victorian farms, predominantly theft. Farms are a target for criminals with offences ranging from illegal hunting to the theft of stock, equipment, firearms and diesel.
Stella Smith, Chief Executive of Crime Stoppers Victoria says that this type of crime doesn’t only affected farm owners it affects their communities too.
“Rural crime is having a significant impact on farm owners and towns where this type of criminal activity is taking place. It hurts the victim’s hip pocket which affects how much they have to spend in their community. This crime is not isolated to one or two geographical regions, we are receiving reports of this taking place statewide. We urge locals to get vocal to help stop the crime in regional Victoria” she said.
In September 2019, Victoria Police announced the creation of the Victoria Police Farm Crime Coordination Unit.
Inspector Karl Curran heads the team of over 60 Farm Crime Liaison Officers who are deployed statewide. He says a community-based approach may be most suitable to curb this type of criminal activity.
“Rural criminal activity such as the theft of fuel or livestock may require a bit of planning from the offenders. We encourage local communities to look out for one another as many rural towns are very close knit. ‘Locals get vocal’ encourages residents to contact Crime Stoppers if you know any information regarding this type of behaviour” he said.
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) have worked closely with Victoria Police in developing strategies to deal with farm crime.
David Jochinke of the VFF says that preventative measures may need to be a priority for farm owners.
“Preventative measures such as ensuring your gates are locked, the installation of cameras and in the case of firearms, ensuring your guns are locked and ammunition is kept separate to any firearms may help in offenders undertaking this type of criminal activity” he said.
“I know not every farmer can afford every latest security feature, but every bit you can do makes it harder for opportunistic criminals.”
“People say it can be hard to keep secrets in [small towns/regional areas] so that’s where reporting to Crime Stoppers can be a great solution. You don’t have to say who you are, and that bit of information might be the last piece of the puzzle Victoria Police are working to solve.
Stella Smith, Chief Executive of Crime Stoppers Victoria reminds the community to contact Crime Stoppers with any information they may have relating to crime.
“With rural crime activity, our community can serve as our eyes and ears. Local knowledge also can be highly effective in identifying perpetrators of these crimes as locals may have a better idea of suspicious behaviour taking place in your local region than anyone else. You can report any information you have to Crime Stoppers and you can do this confidentially.”
Confidential reports can be made to Crime Stoppers at crimestoppersvic.com.au or on 1800 333 000.
For further details and resources on the Locals Get Vocal rural crime campaign, please visit www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.