Ramp-up rural crime reporting - that's the intention of a new state-wide crime campaign that's just been launched between Crime Stoppers NSW and the NSW Police Force.
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Crime Stoppers and the Police Force's Rural Crime Prevention Team are calling on communities to ramp-up rural crime reporting with the aim of solving and preventing further crime.
The State Rural Crime Coordinator of the NSWPF Rural Crime Prevention Team, Detective Chief Inspector Cameron Whiteside said under reporting of rural crime continues to be a major problem in helping police prevent and solve crime.
He said crime in rural NSW continues to remain high with 81 per cent of farmers experiencing crimes such as stock and fuel theft, trespassing and illegal hunting.
This figure was taken from the NSW Farmers Survey from February 2021 by the Centre for Rural Criminology at the University of New England.
"The impact of crimes is exceptionally high, causing financial, physical, and psychological devastation to farmers and has a flow-on effect to the wider Australian economy," Chief Inspector Whiteside said.
"However, the reporting of these crimes continues to be extremely low, and without these reports, crimes cannot be solved, and criminals remain free to continue to cause further havoc for our farmers."
A Rural Crime Advisory Group was established to enable community consultation to develop messaging and initiatives to help increase crime reporting and reduce crime.
"We need to be better informed; we can't do that without the public reporting crime," Chief Inspector Whiteside said.
"We know there are several barriers to reporting crime - confidence in what can be done; retrieval of stolen items; feeling personally responsible for the theft with costs and difficulty in implementing prevention measures and concern around retaliation as it may be someone they know given their smaller communities.
"A new campaign has been developed to address these barriers and work together for a better outcome for our farmers.
"The campaign centres on the tagline - Be a pal and report any theft any time to PAL on 131 444 - and - Report suspicious or actual criminal information to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000."
To assist the community further, Crime Stoppers and the Rural Crime Prevention Team have produced a range of free collateral to assist farmers, from pocket notebooks to record what they see to gate signs for property protection with details on where and how to report crime.
Fact sheets with prevention measures for farmers can be found on the NSW Crime Stoppers website at https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/be-safe/
"Crime in regional areas is not new, however it continues to be a growing area of concern for the whole of NSW, not just the farming community and therefore it needs a whole of community approach," Chief Inspector Whiteside said.
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