Keep alert in Kent
PUBLISHED: 15:48 11 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:48 11 October 2014
Spotted an example of rural crime? Report it, however small, and help protect the great Kent countryside
With harvest drawing to a close, we will soon be changing our clocks and watching the nights draw in. For many people living and working in Kent’s countryside, this is a time of year when rural crime becomes a particular concern.
You can help. The CLA has been working with Kent Police and the most important thing is to report crime or suspicious behaviour to the police, however trivial it may seem – from poaching or tampering with a gate to any damage to property or wildlife, anti-social behaviour, to theft.
A simple way to report a crime is by calling the non-emergency number 101. If life is in danger or a crime is in progress, the advice is to call 999. The reports help the police track and stop crime, and increases awareness of the level and cost of rural crime. So help them to help us.
The longer nights of autumn and winter provide more opportunities for criminals to act, particularly in remote rural areas. With less lighting and lower levels of passing traffic than in urban areas, breaking the law can often go unnoticed for longer.
Now is a good time for farmers and rural communities to take action to help protect themselves over the winter months. Far greater results can be achieved when communities work together with each other, and together with the police force.
CRAG (Crime Rural Advisory Group) is a prime example; the group brings together expertise from across the county’s rural landscape and assists Kent Police and the Crime Commissioner with advice for directing resource. The group also creates an excellent channel for the police to provide information and guidance back to the rural community.
There have been positive results already this year. Kent Police began an operation at the start of the summer to reduce burglaries from outbuildings and sheds in Ashford’s rural communities, with good results. The aim is to identify, disrupt and arrest people engaged with Burglary Other Than Dwellings (BOTD) and crime associated with it.
Officers have been carrying out extra patrols in rural areas where there is evidence of crime and working with KCC Community Wardens to gather intelligence on criminals committing crimes in rural areas.
As part of the operation officers are also providing crime-prevention advice and have organised property marking events.
The fight against rural crime will only be won with countryside dwellers working with the police force: taking the measures advised to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime, sharing information and being diligent in reporting offences.
How to reduce risk
Always put tools and equipment away
Disable machinery when it is not in use
Install automatic security lights security marking and fit tracking devices on your vehicles and machinery. Insurers normally reduce premiums to reflect such measures.
Keep hedges and fences well maintained (this can help discourage unwanted visitors)
Record details of your property and take photographs of items can ease identification when items are taken
Be extra vigilant with your dogs, which are targeted by thieves because they can easily make money selling them on, often for breeding
Cut the risk of theft by ensuring your animal is micro chipped and wears a collar and ID tag, with full contact details. n