Two realities of agriculture — large, hard-to-patrol acreage and expensive equipment — make farms particularly attractive to thieves and vandals. Fortunately, modern farmers have access to an array of methods and new technologies that can do a lot more than “No Trespassing” signs to keep your property safe. Here are some low- and high-tech options to consider.
Know what you own
Some of the most damaging forms of theft involve not major equipment but smaller tools, implements, metal wire or even livestock that disappear a little at a time. Given the size and scope of most farms, such thefts can be hard to detect at first, but can really add up. Modern Farmer magazine suggests a thorough, top-to-bottom inventory of all of your assets. Keep a list, including any serial numbers, and take video of your items. Store the records in a safe place and check and update them frequently.
Assess current procedures
Conduct a detailed rundown of your current security measures, from signs to fences to surveillance equipment. Educate family members and employees on how to help keep an eye on the property and on what steps to take if they detect a problem. Assessing current measures will help make your security plan more organized and less piecemeal; it also can reveal gaps.
Constructing elaborate fences or hiring security guards may be too expensive. Yet targeted surveillance equipment and lighting can help protect your most important assets. Sensors can quickly illuminate areas where motion is detected and also activate digital video cameras, along with alarms that can alert you or an independent security provider to an intruder. Sensors can set off sirens or even send an automatic call to your smartphone. That same phone, meanwhile, may enable you to manually activate lights and monitor video cameras while you’re away.
Change your locks
Old-style locks with master keys can be easy to circumvent. Instead, consider electronic locks that have digital codes you can change frequently and that keep digital records each time someone enters or leaves an area. You might also consider electronic card access to certain areas, enabling employees to enter only at certain times.
No matter what sophisticated security methods or equipment you use, don’t overlook tried-and-true security measures. Varying the days and hours when you personally visit different parts of the farm can keep would-be thieves from predicting your movements. And a good, old-fashioned guard dog with a loud bark may be enough to encourage them to move on.
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