Farmers and police build trust to deter rural crime, with many offences going under-reported

Many farmers are not reporting crimes on their properties because they believe the perpetrators will not be caught, a study shows.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) recently surveyed 700 farmers and found that only 30 per cent of farmers reported crimes — like illegal hunting — on their properties.

The DPI's Game Licensing Unit has been working with New South Wales police to detect and deter illegal hunting.

DPI Game Licensing director Andrew Moriarty said successful crackdowns were hard to achieve with so few farmers reporting crimes.

"We cannot build a really strong picture as to where the illegal hunting is happening, who is impacted, where we need to direct our resources," Dr Moriarty said.

"If I got 100 per cent [of farmers reporting] I would be far better able to direct my resources to the highest priority areas with police, but I am not getting that picture."

Assistant Commissioner and commander of police in the Western NSW region, Geoff McKechnie, said he had seen an increase in farmer confidence but conceded there was more work to be done to build trust that perpetrators would be caught and convicted.

"We have got to produce results as well," Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

"People have got to know that when they do call they police they are going to get a response."

"We certainly want to make reporting as timely and as easy as possible as well … people are time poor and often reluctant to spend time doing those sorts of things."

He said police and communities needed to work together to deter crime.

Stock theft and illegal hunting are two of the major rural crimes affecting farmers and their communities.


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Researchers say farmers around the globe lack the confidence that rural crimes will be solved. ©