How strong communities improve rural security.

How strong communities improve rural security.

Ah, neighbours.

At some point in your life, they’ve probably caused you some headache.

It could have been over a boundary dispute or something petty like an untrimmed hedge.

Either way, they can be a pain.

Then again, you’re on the same team.

You’re both living there out of choice and love the area.

We’re all for some competitiveness, but when it comes to tackling rural crime, you’ll find it easier to put your differences aside.

The closer you work together the easier it’ll be.


The importance of community

Rural communities are tight.

If something happens in the area, the news will spread across the valley by the time you’ve staggered home from the pub.

That can be anything from a new barn going up to how badly someone’s ploughed a field.

Gossiping about neighbours may look bad, but when someone in the community is stuck, the community comes together to help.

Social media has changed what a community is.

It’s become bigger than the people that work on your farm or heritage property.

It’s further reaching than the local town or village.

If a dog goes missing, a poster can have been seen by millions of people within hours.


Build your community

Depending on how long you’ve been there, you’ll already have a community.

They’re the people that work on the farm, as an organist on Sundays or volunteer guides.

They love the property almost as much as you do.

These are the foundations of your community, the people you can trust the most.

A great way to build your community is to host events. This helps introduce new people to your area and if someone knows you they’re more likely to help in future.

A few community event examples are:

  • Charity fundraisers
  • Bonfire night
  • Carol services
  • A Cèilidh

Another, less energetic way of building a community is to use social media.

Showing what’s going on, on your farm or heritage property makes you more relatable.

And with the reach of social media, you can build a large community very quickly.

So when it comes to appealing for information, you can talk to loads of people very quickly.


Share crime stories

As toxic as gossip can be, it does have its advantages.

It lets you know what’s happening up and down the valley.

Sharing information can help you, get ahead of the game.

Being the victim of theft is an awful thing, but it can be used to others’ advantage.

The sooner you spread the word about what’s occurred, the faster your peers can react to prevent theft on their property.

First of all, you’ll be letting people know that thieves are targeting your area.

There’s no point waiting for it to come on the news. That might take days.

And there’s no guarantee people will see it.

Secondly, you can alert people to what they’re stealing.

Have they stolen your ATV?

Or are they targeting livestock?

Once you know what’s being stolen, you can add security around the desirable items.

Lastly, success stories are a great break from doom and gloom.

Everyone likes it when the hero wins. So let people know you’ve made a criminal scamper away.

More importantly, let your neighbours know how you did it. That way, they can do the same thing.


Look out for suspicious behaviour

This is where your community works best.

Using your community to identify thieves is one of the most effective ways to protect your property.

Farm hands or heritage property guides are your best source of information for what’s happening on your property.

They know what looks unnatural. They know what type of people should be on the property and when.

If you have a footpath running through your farmyard, it’s natural to see people tramping through.

Some of them may ‘accidentally’ take a wrong turn and wander around private areas.

Alternatively, you know when people tend to come onto your property. Are they wandering on and looking around at unusual hours?

It’s important to let everyone know about suspicious behaviour. No matter how insignificant, it’ll help you see patterns. Or the same person more than once.

If you want to learn how to spot thieves read this article.


Unfamiliar cars are a giveaway

You probably know most of the people in your area.

When you’re driving to the shops you probably recognise at least one person’s vehicle as you pass them.

So when a new car pops up, they stand out like a peacock amongst chickens.

And you won’t be the only know who’s noticed. The same car may park in a layby opposite a neighbour’s house.

It could be another person who’s taken a wrong turn down a country lane.

However, there’s a chance they’re seeing what security is in the area. Or checking out if there’s anything worth stealing.  

Getting on well with the people who live near you can stamp out a theft before it’s started smoking.


Security camera network

Security cameras are your unsleeping guard.

They’ll keep watch whilst you’re tucked up in bed or out at the shops.

They’re also a great way of helping your community.

If there’s a break-in at your property the police will ask your neighbours if they’ve got security cameras.

Just a glimpse of a person or car will help get your possessions back.

The greater the security network the higher the chance a camera will pick up something of worth.

And when it comes to an early warning system, is there anything better?

As soon as human movement is picked up you’ll get an alert on your phone. So, you can let your neighbour know someone’s sneaking onto their property.

Unless it’s someone coming home from the pub a bit late.


Share security advice

When it comes to security, there shouldn’t be any competition between neighbours.

Sharing security tips will be well received. Nobody wants someone else’s home to be burgled.

We’re not talking about telling people to lock doors and close gates. That’ll come across as condescending.

But have the new electric gates stopped people wandering onto your property?

Since you’ve installed a security camera, what sort of things have you seen?

The new tracker for your tractor was quite cheap, where did you get it from?

On the hand, it’s good to know what doesn’t work.

You’ll save your friends and family a bit of money whilst helping them find a solution that works.

Letting your community know about bits like that will help make your area safer.


Let everyone know as quickly as possible

Sharing information is the best way to keep your area free of rural crime.

Put aside resentments and conflicts to take on a common enemy.

There’s no point waiting for the parish council meeting. They’ll be discussing planning permission and speed limits.

One of the best ways to rapidly share information amongst a close community is a WhatsApp group.

You can make a group for:

  • Farmer Friends
  • Your postcode
  • Employees

This way all members will get live updates on the goings on in the area.

Whether it’s a local theft or suspicious behaviour. The quicker everyone knows, the more time they have to react and secure their property.

The most important things to communicate are:

  • What crimes have been happening in the area.
  • If there’s a visitor that looks out of place.
  • When you notice unfamiliar cars
  • What your security cameras have picked up
  • The success and failures you’ve had with your security.

Yes, there will be many insignificant pieces of information. But there’ll also be some gems that help.


Keep an open line of communication

The way you communicate with your community doesn’t have to be a WhatsApp group.

It can be an email chain, a Facebook message even smoke signals.

The most important thing is that everyone knows what’s happening as soon as possible.

Yes, a weekly newsletter or phone call is a great idea.

Will everyone get the information they need quickly enough though?

What if you send out your newsletter and the next day a farm gets burgled?

Your community will need to wait 6 days to hear about it, potentially putting them at risk too.

Speedy, accurate communication is the key to standing up to rural crime.


Put conflict aside and work together

So, if you’re getting on like a house on fire or fantasizing about setting theirs’ alight.

Working with your neighbours will keep your community safe.

You’re essentially one big team. All working towards the goal of stopping crime in your area.

Rural communities have been built on strong relationships between farmers, landowners, and villagers. Now’s the time to take that step to secure the future of your community.

A rise in crime will cause people to 2nd guess why they’re living there. Nobody wants to live in constant fear of being burgled.

And as people leave, the sense of community dissipates.

It’s time to work together and make sure your family and friends continue to enjoy where you live.

Read this article for free advice on how to protect your rural community.


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