Around 45% of agricultural crime goes unreported according to the latest National Agricultural Crime Survey, carried out by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).
ICSA president Patrick Kent also recently noted that two thirds of Irish farming families have been affected by crime relating to their farming enterprise.
There have also been reports that farmers are bringing firearms into their bedrooms at night in order to protect themselves, according to Sinn Fein TD Carol Nolan. It follows attacks on lone farmers in Co. Offaly in recent months, along with regular thefts of farm machinery.
In light of this, AgriLand looked at what options are available to farmers looking to beef up security to combat burglaries and rural crime.
Wireless mobile tracker devices
One option which could be worth considering is putting specific wireless sensors onto important farm machinery and fuel tanks.
Using the ‘Internet of Things’ – a system essentially using the internet to connect simple devices and sensors in order to track property – could be an effective security option.
French firm Sigfox, provides such security with nationwide coverage through its Irish branch, VT.
These low-energy devices are billed as “low-cost” and suitable for remote rural areas. According to VT, the devices work in places where “getting a strong 3G signal can be challenging and WiFi isn’t practical”.
The trackers run on “long-lasting” batteries, usually in ‘sleep mode’, only activating when a message is sent to them.
Batteries can last between nine months and three years, depending on the number of GPS position recordings taken per day and the mode activated.
Another option is of course the tried-and-tested CCTV cameras set up around your farm; this is the recommended option of farming organisations and the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, previously encouraged rural groups to avail of a new round of funding for community-based CCTV cameras to deter rural crime.
Various companies in Ireland offer a range of CCTV set-ups – from basic one-camera systems, to extensive multi-camera operations, to functions such as swivel cameras and zoom-in features. Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy recently said that he was “aware that CCTV has also aided policing and helping to tackle burglary gangs who roam around the country”.
Perimeter Alarm Beams
Another rather left-of-field option that farmers can look into is that of breaker beams.
Cork-based company Equicom offers a wireless outdoor solar panel perimeter alarm, which is available with a phone dialler and alarm.
The system can be set on a timer, during night-time hours for examle, Equicom claims. It also has a range of up to 100m between transmitters or 1,000m from the alarm unit, according to the company.