Neighbour Hood Support
Rural Support

A farmer’s capital is spread over many acres in the form of stock and equipment, much of which is portable and so easy to steal.  Remember criminals are basically the same in the rural area as they are in the city.  They are opportunists, looking for easy pickings.  If we are careless and make it simple for them to steal from us, they will take advantage.

The ease of access to most farms makes total security impossible – but there is a lot you can do to reduce the risks.  And it doesn’t all involve extra expense.


The Rural Support schemes encourage everyone in the farming and rural community to be vigilant and to report anything suspicious to the Police.  It also encourages the rural community to pool their knowledge – people like yourselves have a very specialised knowledge, which even the Police may find difficult to achieve.

The main aims of Rural Support are to:

  • Reduce opportunities for crime and vandalism
  • Strengthen community spirit so that everyone can play a part in protecting their property
  • Improve two-way communication
  • Reduce the fear of crime

Rural Support schemes are operating in many areas.  Your local Police can give you the necessary advice.


Unfortunately the good old days when farmhouses, sheds, cars and other vehicles could be left unlocked without fear of them being stolen are gone forever.

We must all lock-up!  The Farmer, Rural residents, including families and employees must actively practice crime prevention.  Here are just a few tips:


Grazing animals are an easy target for the thief.  Regularly check the paddocks where animals are grazing – daily if possible.

Keep your fences and gates in good repair.  Ditches form a natural barrier and gate hinges should have capping hinges so they cannot be removed easily.

Cattle grids should be removable and locked out of position when not in use.  Use locking posts to obstruct large openings to yards etc.

Consider using closed circuit television so you can watch animals in sheds and yards from the comfort of your home.  This can be especially useful during busy times like the lambing or shearing season.

If livestock is stolen it is important that you give the Police an accurate description.

Ear tags and horn brands etc, help Police to identify stock.  Freeze branding, hot branding or tattooing will also help.

Take photographs of particularly valuable animals, and consider injecting computer ID chips.

If you see strange vehicles, particularly trucks in your area write down the registration number and pass it on to your local Police.


Try to secure or immobilise vehicles or equipment when not in use.  If it is possible, remove machinery from paddocks, especially near roads.         

Identify your property by:
  • Keeping a record of the serial number, chassis and model numbers of machines
  • Painting your name on valuable tarpaulins in letters at least one foot high
  • Using metal engravers or stamps to mark tools, vehicles and equipment – you might consider using your driver licence  number

Always keep tools and small pieces of machinery locked away.  Do not leave them lying around.


Store valuable equipment and tools – chainsaws, welding and cutting equipment, vehicle spares and riding equipment – in a secure building behind a strong locked door.  Or, build a metal storage cage inside a shed and keep it locked.

Use New Zealand Standard locks, good quality locking bars and high security padlocks.  Windows can be protected with metal bars.  Lock outbuildings when you are not using them.

Thieves don’t like well-lit areas so fit security lights that are controlled by an automatic time switch or sensors that react to heat or movement.

Consider fitting an intruder alarm or closed circuit television to alert you to anything suspicious.


Farmhouses attract burglars because they are often large and in isolated places. 

Fit New Zealand Standard deadlocks to all outside doors.

Consider fitting window locks to some but not all windows.  These are ideal to use while there is no one in the house.  At night however, you should leave the keys in the window locks and an exit door in case you might have to leave the house in an emergency, such as a fire. 

The main door should be of solid construction.  Fit a wide-angled door viewer so you can see who is on the other side of the door.

A burglar alarm is useful, but is often a last line of defence.  Most only warn you when someone has already broken into your house.  Your first priority should be to stop them getting that far.

Keep all firearms in a securely locked cabinet and store ammunition/bolts separately.

If you have to keep cash or jewellery in the house, a floor safe is worth considering.

Keep a record of your valuable possessions.  Consider etching your driver’s licence number on suitable items, or photograph them – with a ruler to indicate size.

Don’t advertise that you are not at home by leaving notes for tradespeople, or shed doors open.

When your house is empty ask a neighbour or your local rural watch to keep an eye on your farm.  And of course be prepared to do the same for them!


Secure and lock all vehicles when not in use. Remove all ignition keys.  Farm bikes and quads are sometimes targeted so extra caution is required. 


Keep up to date on the current crime trends in your area.  A good way to do this is to join or form a local Rural Support.  Your local Police Officer or Neighbourhood Support Co-ordinator  can advise you. 

Encourage your employees to be security conscious and look out for strange vehicles, particularly vans or trucks – a registration number may give the Police a vital lead.


It is very important to have adequate insurance cover.  It pays to have full cover against theft of vehicles, equipment and livestock etc, as well as for the contents of your buildings. Advice from your Insurance Company is free – whether it’s about insurance itself, or on ways to make your property more secure.

Contact me or your local Neighbourhood Support Co-ordinator  for further information.

Dave Wilkinson
Canterbury Neighbourhood Support Inc
C/- PO Box 2109
Telephone 03 420 9944

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