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Rural Security: Is your rural property or site at risk?

Rural Security: Is your rural property or site at risk?
Rural Security: Is your rural property or site at risk?

The 2023 rural crime report makes for surprising reading, with a 22% increase in rural theft recorded between 2022 and 2023. However, this increase in crime will come as no surprise to farmers who are bearing the brunt of costly machine theft and the severe disruption caused as a result. 

While general crime rates tend to be lower in the countryside, it is essential to consider the unique nature of security issues and threats in rural areas, particularly for farms, residential properties and businesses exposed to multiple risks.

Remote buildings that are not overlooked or in a populated area may be targeted since the absence of surveillance or traffic nearby can make theft, burglary, vehicle theft and trespassing easier, coupled with the complexities of using conventional security systems in these regions.

 

Have Crimes in Remote Areas Increased?

Crimes in rural regions also increased by 2% between 2020 and 2021, although some types of illegal behaviour, including drug-related crimes and residential burglaries, dropped slightly during pandemic restrictions.

The NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report 2022 indicates that, once lockdowns ended, the costs associated with thefts soared by 40%.

According to the NFU Mutual’s 2023 Crime Report, rural crime cost the UK an estimated £49.5m in 2022 – an increase of 22%. The report also found that 80% of respondents said that rural crime is affecting farming activities.

NFU Mutual Chairman Jim McLaren wrote in the report: “Rural thieves are no longer opportunists from the nearest town. Today, crime is controlled by organised and often international gangs, and world events and new illicit markets have an impact on the demand for stolen kit.”

Government statistics show that recorded crimes in rural areas are lower than in urban settings, but in 2022 included 292 vehicle offences per 100,000 people – including thefts of vehicles, parts and belongings.

It is important to assess those crimes, incidents or thefts that pose the highest risk since these may vary between areas. Still, rural zones are more exposed to issues such as theft of farming equipment, machinery, tools, fuel, and residential robberies where remote properties are unsupervised, and criminals can trespass without being spotted.

rural security

What Are the Biggest Security Issues for Rural Buildings?

Theft is the most common rural crime, affecting both homes and businesses, but more specific crimes, such as livestock or dog theft, are also not unusual. Rural crime cost the UK an estimated £49.5m in 2022, up from £40.5m the previous year.

The increase in plant theft occurs in the context of surging prices for machinery and a global scarcity of agricultural machinery. In response, criminal organisations have set up unlawful international markets for agricultural equipment and technology.

In a city, monitoring equipment, pedestrians, and traffic make it more difficult for criminals to carry out robberies without being seen. The likelihood of a passer-by calling the emergency services is considerably higher, as is being captured on CCTV.

Further to this, remote homes may be empty during working hours, and businesses are commonly targeted overnight, particularly where big-ticket items such as farming equipment and tools are stored in yards or outbuildings.

Businesses such as post offices and shops are also more vulnerable in a village or countryside setting, where it is obvious when the unit has been closed overnight, and there is very little surveillance to catch a criminal in the act.

Tackling the Most Significant Security Issues for Rural Areas

Fortunately, advancements in communications and surveillance technology can safeguard people, properties and assets, and visible security measures can be an effective deterrent.

A prospective criminal is less likely to attempt to trespass on a site with CCTV cameras, signage warning of the site or property being alarmed, or where there are physical barriers or access restrictions.

Let’s look at the core issues and the solutions available to address them.

1. Lack of Power Infrastructure

For many people living in small villages, farming communities and remote homes, installing CCTV surveillance or alarm systems may be complex because there isn’t a sufficient mains power supply, or the costs of running cabling across fields may be prohibitive.

The same issue applies to businesses and commercial facilities based in the countryside, where it simply isn’t possible to fit alarm units or high-powered security systems to outbuildings or perimeters spanning broad areas of land.

One of the fastest and most efficient options is to use a wireless security system, including:

  • Wireless alarms fitted with commercial-grade battery units and suitable for rural properties, vacant buildings and perimeter security.
  • Solar-powered CCTV towers and mast-mounted cameras, which work autonomously and can be positioned to cover wide zones.

There are also alternatives, such as perimeter fencing with independently powered alarm sensors and physical barriers, including concrete barrier blocks, used to protect rear entrances and routes that would otherwise allow intruders to gain access.

Clearway solar power CCTV tower

2. Poor Signal Coverage

Most villages and countryside regions have varying mobile coverage, where phones and other communication devices are unreliable or only work correctly on higher ground.

Professionally fitted alarm systems and security devices, including lone worker safety alarms and panic alarms, work anywhere, with always-on reliability, using secure dual-signal transmissions directed straight to our Alarm Receiving Centre.

Alarms without a monitoring procedure can be ineffective since a criminal may stage a false intrusion beforehand and see that although an alarm sounds, there is no rapid security response.

We provide a wide range of security hardware with cutting-edge transmissions to ensure that if your CCTV detects an intruder, an alarm sensor is activated, or your surveillance system identifies suspicious activity, the alert is raised immediately and cannot be interrupted or bypassed.

3. Protecting Large Areas of Land

Rural properties and farmland are attractive for many reasons, with low population density, plenty of outdoor space, and fresh air. However, the landscape within a countryside environment also makes it more exposed to criminal activity.

Alarm systems designed for individual buildings may not have the functionality to monitor every outbuilding, entrance gate or door, and even the most advanced CCTV cameras have a limited scope of vision.

There are several ways to address perimeter security across fields, open land and large areas, including:

  • Randomised security dog patrols or K9 patrols, where qualified manned guarding teams can use surveillance equipment and certified guarding dogs to pick up on unwanted behaviour at great distances.
  • Alarmed perimeter security, such as vibration sensor fencing or access control gates, which can prevent unauthorised individuals or vehicles from entering.
  • AI-enabled cameras and towers, with floodlights, motion-activated sensors, auto-recording and video transmission, and audio warnings to advise intruders that they have been identified, are being recorded, and a security response is en route.

Combining a range of security approaches may be ideal, using wireless cameras and alarms for main entry points, high-scope surveillance for open areas of land, and perimeter and boundary controls to secure the further reaches of your property, business or land.

For more information about the right security systems to defend your rural home or commercial premise or to discuss any of the solutions mentioned here, please get in touch with the Clearway specialists at your convenience.

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