Effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the agricultural sector continue to proliferate in the form of rural crime and fly-tipping and such criminal activities are likely to continue as we head into the winter when police receive the most reports of burglaries.

However, with some farmers feeling that law enforcement bodies simply are not doing enough or cannot do enough, what can they do to protect themselves?

According to Matthew Margetts, director of sales and marketing at Smarter Technologies, the answer is smart technology which allows farmers to mitigate the risks of rural crime from the palms of their hands via a connected device and simultaneously send the data to the police.

Latest figures reveal rural crime rates are at their highest level since 2013, costing the agricultural sector £54m annually. The NFU Mutual’s 2020 Rural Crime report found that the cost of crime in the countryside rose by almost 9% in just 12 months and with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this figure is likely to increase further.

Another problem farmers are facing, Mr Margetts said is the surge in fly-tipping that has been reported since the pandemic broke out. Although fly-tipping has long been an issue plaguing the agricultural sector, it has increased by about 80% since the lockdown.

Making matters worse, fly-tipping is the only crime where the victims (the private landowners) have a legal responsibility to dispose of the waste. Failure to do so can lead to fines and/or prosecution.

Due to the size of farms, it can be difficult to keep an eye on the entire perimeter, buildings and fields. Remote, dark areas leave equipment and livestock exposed, but there are a number of smart security solutions that can help prevent crime and help you recover stolen assets. Connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), these devices report into a central dashboard that can be accessed at any time, from anywhere, providing a comprehensive overview and instant alerts in the case of disruption.

CCTV cameras can capture and report predefined alerts in case of unwanted activity. They also collect evidence to help secure an arrest and conviction.

GPS tags with panic alarms for staff and visitors can be placed in any area, on any assets.

Motion tags for gates, doors and windows can be linked to CCTV.

Ideal for moveable assets such as farm machinery and trailers, discreet GPS trackers can alert farmers if the asset moves outside a certain area and report on an item’s location in real time.

Battery-powered light beam sensors are easy to deploy, protecting gateway openings or your whole perimeter by sending notifications when the beam is broken. When linked to CCTV, these sensors can capture trespassers in the act.

Electric fence monitoring sensors can send an alert if an electric fence is powered down or cut.

Livestock protection

Along with the perimeter protection measures, individual animals can be tracked and secured using GPS livestock technology. By placing a collar with a smart tag on each animal (or, in the case of sheep, having a device sewn into a fleece), farmers can track their location in real-time and set geofences as boundaries. If an animal were to be stolen and cross the farm boundary or specific geofence, the farmer could have a predefined alert sent straight to his or her mobile device. This technology enables early detection as well as quicker recovery of stolen animals. The presence of a GPS collar could also deter thieves entirely.

Start with smart security

Smart agriculture security solutions give farmers a comprehensive overview of their site and assets – equipment, machinery, buildings, tools, fuel and livestock – in real time on any connected device. With remote site management technology, farmers can prevent crime, track and recover stolen assets and secure their rural businesses, homes and workers.

For more information see https://smartertechnologies.com/