UNE calls on farmers to share information about farm crime

28th Jun 2023

In an effort to combat rural crime, University of New England’s (UNE) centre for rural criminology has initiated the first comprehensive study in over two decades.
The 2023 Australian farm crime survey aims to gather crucial insights from landholders regarding their encounters with criminal activity, and their perspectives on crime prevention effectiveness.
The survey seeks to gain a better understanding of the climbing rate of rural crime from the perspective of farmers and landholders.
This national survey follows UNE’s 2020 NSW farm crime survey, which found that farmers are reluctant to report criminal activity, and many are dissatisfied with criminal justice responses to the crime.
The NSW survey also found most farmers see the rural crime prevention team as a positive development in the fight against rural crime, with nearly half of those surveyed saying they’re more likely to report crime since the creation of the specialised team.
The survey also highlighted farmers’ frustration at their inability to monitor stock against theft. In response, UNE supported a smart tag trial that proved that following a theft, stock could be successfully tracked by police.
The centre’s co-director, Dr. Kyle Mulrooney, said in order to combat farm crime, police and policymakers need better information from those involved in farming who have key insights into the important issues.
“This national survey comes off the back of several state surveys. The evidence suggests that farm crime is a serious problem. Increasing the capacity to fight farm crime is crucial,” Dr Mulrooney said.
“This survey puts the farmers’ voice front and centre, allowing us to gain a better understanding of the scope of the problem, as well as find out what measures might be taken by the Government, police, farmers and rural communities to reduce farm crime across Australia.”
Dr Mulrooney said it’s well known that farm crime is quite rampant, but there’s not a clear picture of how widespread it is, mostly because it is under-reported.
“This farm data from NSW was crucial in crime campaigns to target communities to help them address and prevent farm crime. We also drew on the experience of farmers around livestock theft,” Dr Mulrooney said.
“So this is our attempt to collect that data from across Australia. It’s information we need to be able to move the needle against the crooks, to properly address farm crime.”
The national survey is calling for farmers across the nation to take part; it is now open until the end of the year.
The survey is available online at https://www.une.edu.au/connect/news/2023/06/national-farm-crime-survey