Locking the gate on rural crime

Published 02 June 2014

8022411830_1bcf8215ec_qWhile the seasons bring mixed fortunes as they alternate between long drought and a brief grace of good seasons, for some primary producers there is rarely any break from the impact of rural crime – stock theft, trespassing and illegal hunting.

Examining just how much impact these offences have on primary producers is the aim of a new study into rural crime being conducted by researchers at the University of New England.

Associate Professor in Criminology and lead researcher in the project, Dr Elaine Barclay, said it has been more than ten years since a similar survey was last conducted in New South Wales.

“The previous study highlighted the problems farmers were experiencing, and the findings supported an appeal to the NSW State Government for more resources for policing farm crime,” A/Professor Barclay said.

“As a result there are now 33 Rural Crime Investigators and one Rural Crime Intelligence Analyst across NSW. Livestock movements and identification are more closely monitored, and legislation has been improved regarding trespassing, illegal hunting on farms and the dealing of wool, hides and skins.”

Elaine Barclay says this new study is being expanded to consider the impact of rural crime in Queensland, and primary producers in both New South and Queensland are being asked to take part.

“The findings of this survey will continue to raise awareness of farm crime and identify measures that might be taken by farmers, governments, police, courts and other agencies to reduce the incidence of farm crime. As crime is continually changing, the ways to address crime must change.

“Primary producers are invited to complete an online survey which will take between 15 and 30 minutes to complete, depending on their own experiences of crime.

“It will be important to hear from landholders that have never been a victim of crime to ensure that the study produces an accurate measure of what is happening on farm.”

More information about the study or requests for hard copies of the survey can email Dr Elaine Barclay (ebarclay@une.edu.au).