Agricultural Thievery

Jewelry, cash, cars…these are traditional items of choice for burglars, but what about cows, tractors and fertilizer?

“The increasing incidence of rural theft—and theft in general—is more proof of the negative impacts of our country's troublesome economic state, rampant unemployment and other burdens,” stated an International Business Times story.

Just two weeks ago, a 25-year-old woman from Albany, Ohio, was arrested for stealing $5,000 of machinery and steel from an area farm.

In March, two men were arrested in Dover-New Philadelphia, Ohio, for stealing a bale hauler to sell for scrap metal.

Farm security is difficult to implement, given decreased law enforcement professionals and the difficulty of allocating officers to patrol remote areas. Law enforcement is experiencing rural theft throughout the country, as reported in a recent story:

“While other states have their own agricultural intrigue — cattle rustlers in Texas, tomato takers in Florida — few areas can claim a wider variety of farm felons than California, where ambushes on everything from almonds to beehives have been reported in recent years. Then there is the hardware: Diesel fuel, tools and truck batteries regularly disappear in the Central Valley, the state's agricultural powerhouse, where high unemployment, foreclosures and methamphetamine abuse have made criminals more desperate, officials say.”

The Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Service has authored a paper specifically to help farmers prevent the theft of Anhydrous Ammonia.

Many insurance groups provide farm-related policies, such as Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, which insures the following:
  • Replacement cost on contents, dwelling and outbuildings
  • Borrowed, rented or leased farm equipment
  • Coverage on outbuildings
  • Identity-theft expense
Farm theft prevention tips:
  • Display association member signs
  • Keep records of serial numbers or other ID numbers of equipment and tools
  • Use locks to limit access to storage areas and control possession of keys; Ensure locks are tamper-resistant
  • Detach hoses from unattended tanks and store tanks in high-traffic areas illuminated by motion-sensor lights
  • Conduct inventory regularly
  • Secure rail, truck and barge containers
  • Brand livestock
  • Don't establish a routine when feeding
  • Participate in neighborhood Crime Watch programs
  • Park trailers and equipment out of view from the road
  • Know who the people are who have access to your property
  • Never leave keys in equipment
Have you or anyone who you know, been a victim of an ag-related theft? Do you participate in community watch programs?

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