How to protect farm machinery
One of the largest threats to the rural economy is the theft of agricultural machinery, with farmers constantly having to implement new security measures in order to protect themselves from criminal activity.
Their businesses are hindered by the fact that plant and farm machinery commands huge sums of money on the black market, making these items very attractive targets for thieves. Just like their rightful owners, certain criminals also recognise the true value of tractors, plows, generators and welders; a fact which emphasises the need for all farmers to protect their equipment.
A financial hit from the theft of machinery is sometimes the least of their worries. If a key vehicle is stolen during a critical period of planting and harvesting, the subsequent loss of productivity can prove to be an even bigger pill to swallow.
Fortunately there are numerous ways that farmers can reduce the opportunity for thieves. Although some of the recommended guidelines might seem time consuming and radical to a farm with limited security in place, these measures may pay off in the long run.
Criminals in this area differ according to their knowledge in machinery and in the theft of machinery. Some will be fully aware of how to break into a vehicle, start the engine and drive it away, while others will have to look for a much more blatant opportunity to arise.
The simple way to protect vehicles from the latter type of thief is to secure or immobilize all vehicles when not in use. Machinery that must be stored away for an indefinite period should be disabled through the removal of the battery. The same applies for machinery stored outside, as well as vehicles that only get used during certain times of the year.
Criminals will also see an opportunity on which to pounce if a piece of machinery is left unsecured. Furthermore, not all pieces require power and therefore cannot be immobilized. One way to prevent an asset from being towed away is to chain it to a strongly anchored object. This should significantly reduce the criminal's chances of being able to move the vehicle, which should act as a deterrent when they come to pinpoint their targets.
Chaining or hooking the vehicle on to something just as heavy should protect vehicles that need to be stored outside. For smaller pieces of machinery, farmers are advised to use sheds or barns for their storage. Placing high-value equipment somewhere that clearly be seen from the farmhouse or in a highly visible area has clear advantages.
Opportunities aren't always created by the criminal however, as thefts can still occur as a result of a lapse of concentration or breakdown in communication. The slightest of mistakes in regards to vehicle storage can prove costly, which is why it's imperative that farmers account for human error by thinking proactively.
Farmers must first realise that vehicles can still be recovered long after they've been stolen. By fitting their most-valuable pieces of equipment with tracking devices
, farmers have the luxury of being notified when something has been removed from their premises. Unlike other stolen vehicle recovery GPS only systems, agricultural and plant security systems from Tracker combine GPS, GSM and VHF technology to overcome barriers like concealment and signal jamming, boosting the owner's chances of regaining possession of their vehicle after theft.
Machinery owners should also ensure that all pieces of equipment are marked in a way which proves their identity. Criminals may be put off after seeing that the target has been branded in a way that reflects its ownership, which means they're less likely to get away with passing it off as their own.
Although owners of small farms will notice the disappearance of a critical piece of machinery within a matter of hours, it can take days, maybe even weeks for the loss of equipment to be recorded at larger operations.
These businesses must delegate a worker to maintain an inventory for their equipment, listing model descriptions, serial numbers, chassis numbers and anything else that can be used to prove identity. That way the owner can be informed of exactly what's missing and how it might affect their immediate plans for work.
As well as being wary of their own vehicles, farmers are also advised to look out for suspicious activity when purchasing others. Criminals will often make attempts to offload their items onto unwitting members of the rural community, which is why farmers should alert the police of any deals that seem a little too attractive. As the saying goes: if the offer's too good to be true, it probably is.