11% drop in Northern rural crime levels

The latest rural crime statistics show an 11% fall in the number of incidents recorded in rural communities across Northern Ireland over the last year.

The latest quarterly update also marks a 47% reduction since 2010-11, but police chiefs say there is more work to be done, and add that property owners should remain vigilant for suspicious activity.

‘One is too many’

PSNI Supt. Brian Kee said that, while the news was “encouraging”, he takes the position that one crime against the rural community is “one too many”.

Statistics only tell part of the story; they do not account for the severe impact theft can have on a farming business, family and community.

He said: “There is no acceptable level of crime in the rural community or indeed elsewhere – and for PSNI, one victim is one too many.

“We know from our work with victims of crime that every incident has an impact on individuals, families and the community as a whole.

“Police remain committed to keeping people safe and we will work hard with the community and partner agencies into the future, including the Rural Crime Partnership, PCSPs [Policing and Community Safety Partnerships], An Garda Siochana and a number of other agencies. We remain committed to working with the farming community to drive this figure down even further.

‘Disrupt and detect’

“We are not complacent, we continue to seek ways in which to disrupt and detect criminals who target rural communities.

For instance, we are concerned at an apparent increase in the theft of quads in the first few weeks of 2018. We would ask members of the public to report anything suspicious to police as soon as possible.

“We understand thefts such as these can have a detrimental effect on a farming business,” he said.

“Spending a bit of time reviewing your security will go a long way to helping reduce your chance of becoming a victim of crime.”

It comes just weeks after a 22-year-old man was sentenced to a year and a half in prison at Downpatrick Crown Court for theft and handling stolen goods. The offences were carried out in south Down and Armagh between September and October 2016 and involved the theft of farm animals and equipment.

Advice

Those who would like free advice from a local crime prevention officer can ring ‘101’ for more information.

Supt. Kee added: “If possible, please keep quads etc out of sight and kept in a secure shed, and apply locks and chains to ensure they are secure. Always remove the keys. GPS systems can also be fitted to quads.

“We would ask that if you notice something which does not look right, or are aware of machinery or equipment being moved at odd times, phone police on the 101 number as soon as possible.”

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