A new campaign has been launched to help 'draw the line on rural crime' across regional NSW.
In NSW, more than 80 per cent of farmers have reported being a victim of crime, according to research by the Centre for Rural Criminology at the University of New England.
Even more critical is the high levels of repeat victimisation, with more than 76 per cent of farmers being a victim of crime on more than two occasions, and more than 23 per cent experiencing crime more than seven times.
On Monday, Crime Stoppers and the NSW Police Force launched a state-wide campaign to address the awareness of regional crimes, prevention measures and to increase reporting to Crime Stoppers and the police.
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NSW Crime Stoppers CEO Peter Price said rural communities in NSW and around Australia had suffered greatly over the last few years, andthe last thing they needed was more disaster.
"The people who live in our regional and remote communities around NSW, and around Australia, have had a really tough time for the last few years," he said.
"They've had to deal with drought, floods, COVID, bushfires and everything else that can be thrown at them.
"What they don't need to be, is dealing with adversity around them and various criminal activities."
The campaign is a partnership between Crime Stoppers, the NSW Police Force Rural Crime Prevention team and the Police Transport and Public Safety Command across a range of major crime areas including stock theft, marine theft and poaching.
The campaign will provide information on how regional communities can deter or prevent crime in their area while encouraging everyone to report crime.
The message to the NSW community is, any information on any crime anytime.
"Any information about any crime, whether its a drug crime, a meth lab or people conducting illegal hunting or stock theft we want to know about it," Mr Price said.
"The truth is a lot of rural crime is not reported in this state. We're asking people to report crime to Crime Stoppers.
"If you suspect someone is undertaking crime in a regional or rural area, we would like to know."
He said it was important to gain intelligence from NSW communities, so they could plan to increase police resources across the state.
"Just like you need more people to harvest a crop, we need more people to harvest information from members of the community," he said.
NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Brett Greentree said stock theft had been one example that has had a significant financial impact on farmers.
Between 2015 and 2020, there has been a conservative estimated value of $22.5 million worth of sheep and cattle reported stolen within NSW.
He said if we consider the value of stud stock, loss of animal by-products and loss of future breeding potential, the financial impact on primary producers within NSW could realistically be over $60 million.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Greentree said it was important to work together to support farmers, as while it could affect an individuals finances and safety directly, it could have a more widespread impact on the prosperity of the town and its people.
"Australia relies on farmers and the farming industry," he said.
"This campaign aims to encourage people to provide information with regard to anything suspicious in regional NSW.
"Suspicious behaviour is something that just doesn't sit right. It is something that is out of place, it can even be your gut feeling.
"Any little piece of information could be the crucial link of solving something important."
The newly-launched community awareness campaign will run state-wide for a 12-month period. Crime Stoppers will be visiting regional communities to engage with communities in an effort to help reduce crime and increase reporting.
Crime in regional areas is not new, however it continues to be a growing area of concern for the whole of NSW, not just the farming community and therefore it needs a whole of community approach.
The Crime Stoppers contact centre operates 24/7, 365 days a year and all information captured is in complete confidence.
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